A child can learn to ride a bike absolutely at any age. Usually, a kid can bike once he has mastered riding a tricycle. Here, the main condition is your child’s desire. If he doesn’t want to, you better don’t insist and don’t make him. Otherwise the child won’t be able to really enjoy cycling and won’t have a desire to ride either a tricycle or a bicycle.
There are lots of different techniques to teach a child how to ride a bicycle, including the very well-known and the most effective ones listed below:
1. teaching a kid to ride a bicycle. Good for children who already walk.
2. teaching a kid to ride a bike with a different number of wheels. That is perfect for both little ones who don’t yet walk and the kids aged 2 – 4,5 years.
Teaching your kid to cycle
For your child to confidently ride a bicycle, you need to solve several problems:
– help your kid overcome the feelings of fear and insecurity;
– teach him to balance when in a saddle;
– teach him to pedal;
– teach your little one to manage bike handlebars.
Before your kid sits down on a bike, you need to help him conquer a fear of possible falling from this vehicle and get more confidence when on the bike. That is why you should be the first to sit down on the bike and show that there is nothing to worry about. You yourself can also ride the bike. Afterwards, seat the child down on the vehicle, hold him, and offer him to place his feet on the pedals.
As soon as the child conquers the fear, you can proceed to the next stage: teach him to keep the balance.
The child can learn to keep the balance, if you perform one of the following actions:
1. teach him to ride immediately a bicycle.
2. teach him to ride a balance bike. That’s a mini-copy of an ordinary bike with only one distinction: it has no pedals.
Your child will like this kind of a vehicle, and it will help him to get ready to ride a bicycle. Another advantage of a balance bike is that it helps leg muscles adapt to tension when pedaling.
How to teach your kid to balance on a bicycle
If you decide to teach the child to keep his balance on a bicycle with the pedals, perform the actions in the following order.
1. When the child enjoys sitting on the bike, you should teach him to sit down on the bike and get off it. Then gently tilt the bike in different directions. The child has to place his foot on the ground by the tilt thus preventing the vehicle from falling.
2. Now, the child should learn how to balance on his own. For him to do that, you should let the bike go and offer the child to place his feet on the pedals. When the vehicle begins to fall, the kid on his own should lean a foot on the ground. If necessary, support the child.
3. Once your child confidently sits in the saddle, you can proceed to the next step: teach him to use the brakes by pushing the pedals. Though it is very simple, children find it difficult to use them, since they better get off the saddle or slow down the bike with the legs. This leads to numerous injuries and the appearance of a new fear of cycling. The main condition here is that the child should learn to slow down by pushing the pedals. These are good if your child has just started learning to bike, for he can unintentionally use the hand brakes at a wrong moment.
4. For the child to easily master this technique, you need to push the kid’s bicycle and demand that the he pushed the pedals and immediately leaned a foot against the ground. Each time the child pushes the pedals you should let the bike go.
5. Once your child begins to confidently push the pedals, you can proceed to the next step: teach him to pedal. To start with, the child can pedal while you are supporting the bike, and master the skill of slowing the bike down.
6. Then you can gradually teach him to cycle on his own. First, push the child a short distance and he should slow the bike down at a right moment. Then push the bike further and let the child cycle faster. It’s very important that you are by the child’s side if he is experiencing any difficulties when slowing down.
7. Now you can arrange a test: find a small hill and offer the child to perform all the actions – to sit down, to pedal, to slow the bike down at the bottom of the hill, and lean a foot against the ground.
8. The most important and essential point here is both properly set saddle and the handle bars. The saddle should be positioned so that the child can confidently reach the pedals but his leg remained stretched on a lower pedal. The handle bars have to be up to his chest.
9. This long process can be much shorter if you buy a balance bike for your child. While riding it, the child will immediately learn to balance and manage the handle bars. And when your kid starts riding an ordinary bike, your only task will be to teach him to pedal.
Teaching your child to pedal
For your little one to properly pedal, perform the following actions.
1. Remove one pedal (in no event attach additional wheels – it will be just uncomfortable for the child to cycle) and lower the saddle so that the child could reach the ground with his feet. And with the pedal left your child will quickly learn how to cycle, much like a scooter. Here you need to teach to slow the bike down with the help of this one pedal.
2. Attach the second pedal back. The saddle remains on the same level. Offer the child to ride down a small hill. And he will reflectively put his feet on the pedals and start pedaling.
3. Raise the saddle the desired level. Once the child learned to pedal, you can gradually lift the saddle. Don’t do it immediately, since the child may be frightened and fall.
Thus, the child will learn to ride on his own.
But if your child is too young and you want him to cycle before he starts walking, teach him then to ride a tricycle first.
How to teach a child to ride a tricycle?
For this purpose you should first introduce him to a bike. You may offer the kid to touch it, its entire buttons, and various details. If the bike is musical, let your child listen to its music.
When the child walks already, he can then learn to hold the handle bars while walking. At home, offer your child to push the bike by himself – stand with one leg on the stand and push off from the floor, holding the handle bars.
As soon as your kid understands that he can direct the trike in either direction, offer him to pedal sitting on the saddle.
Once the child masters all these, confidently pedals with acceleration, you can now purchase a bicycle.
Riding a bicycle
To start with, buy a bike with training wheels. Most importantly, these wheels don’t have to be the same level as the big wheels to avoid a variety of injuries and accidents on the road.
Before your little one starts biking, you should explain to him the difference between the bikes and trikes. You have to show that one can’t make a sharp turn on the bike because it is easy to fall and hit different body parts. It is also worth mentioning the brakes.
Now you are ready to start teaching. The technique is similar to the one discussed above. The only difference is that you should constantly adjust the wheels.
When a child is just beginning to ride this kind of a bike, the training wheels should alternately touch the ground. And, once the child mastered biking, you can slightly (and unbeknownst to your child) lift the wheels. Over time, when the child bikes confidently, you can remove the wheels at all.
From a trike immediately onto a bike
But if you don’t want to buy a bike with the training wheels, you can buy an ordinary one with two wheels. In this case, the teaching technique will a bit differ from the previous one.
The child is cycling you should slightly hold him by the shoulders and walk near him. Don’t hold the handle bars – the child himself should choose where and how to go. Moreover, there’s a high possibility that the child will perform sudden movements, and as a result, fall down and frighten.
Another important condition is the height of the saddle. Position it so low that the child, if frightened or anxious, can immediately put his feet on the ground. Later, you can position the saddle the desired level.
You yourself are an excellent example for your child. If you regularly ride a bike, thus keeping yourself fit and in a good shape, your kid will want to do the same on his vehicle.
I remember, as a child I wanted to learn to ride a bike. My brother was my teacher. I sat down on the “adult” bike, and he supported it by holding the saddle. I automatically was pedaling. A few meters later I noticed that I was cycling on my own – my brother has let the bike go unbeknownst to me! Of course I’ve fallen down. But I wasn’t frightened. My brother’s only technique was: ”sit down and ride”. So, I sat down again and, having fallen down for a few times, I was able to cycle on my own.
Whatever technique you choose, you’ll be able to easily, quickly and, most importantly, properly teach your child to cycle. Moreover, you’ll have an opportunity to walk long distances with all the necessary stuff and not to hold the kid in the arms for a long time.