While we may never forget how to ride a bike, many parents don’t know how to teach a child to ride. There are many techniques and methods and no one is best.
Learning to ride a bike is an exciting time for a young child. Being able to ride is an important skill that will be crucial to their development of independence.
My name is Jennifer from Mom Tricks, and I’m here today with a guide on one of my favorite summer activities, riding a bike!
This is my favorite way of teaching a child to ride a bike, as it encourages the child to learn slowly through natural steps that build confidence!
Teaching a Child to Ride a Bike
Stay positive – Your child might learn to ride in just a few minutes or it might take a few months. No matter how long it takes for your child to learn, remember, riding a bike is a unique experience for every child.
Stay safe – While your child may not be cruising down the streets right now, proper safety begins on day one. Practice trying on your child’s helmet while you’re indoors, make a game out of getting their safety gear on, and compliment them for wearing proper shoes, pads, and helmet.
Choose right – Many parents try to buy a bike their child will grow into, (I don’t blame you; they grow fast!) however, when you are teaching a child to ride a bike, he or she needs a bike that is the right size for them. Choose a bike they can sit comfortably on while having full control of the handlebars. Adjustable seats, handles, and pedals will assist you in finding the right fit.
Be prepared – Before your child can ride their bike, it needs to be properly assembled and inflated. Make sure to follow all safety precautions and attach reflective lights to the bike. During assembly, you’ll want to remove the training wheels and the pedals.
Scout it out – Find a location where your child can practice their skill on a level, flat surface without large bumps, cars, or distractions. A driveway, empty parking lot, playground blacktop, or even an empty basketball court will give your child a safe place to practice.
Ready, set, balance – Your child’s first task will be to balance on their bike while pushing themselves along. Be sure your child wears their safety gear! By removing the need to pedal and steer, your child can focus on balancing on the bike. They should push themselves as they propel themselves forward. Once they’re comfortable with their new push bike, it’s time for the next step
Time for fun: Coasting – Hop on your bike and show your child how to coast with your feet up. Have your child count as you glide along. Once your child understands what coasting is, have them join in. Set up a line and have your child push their bike to the line and then coast as far as they can away. Mark each spot when they come to a stop. Keep it going until your child is comfortable coasting along with their feet up.
Break time – Give your child some snacks and much deserved praise! They’re almost ready to start riding. During snack time, reattach the pedals to the bike. Now that your child can balance, push, and glide, it’s time to practice moving the bike with the pedals.
Pedal down – Start by having your child start from a standing position and pushing on the pedals to push forward. Have them go slowly so you can support the bike to prevent accidents – however, allow your child to do the bulk of the balancing.
Confidence first – If your child has mastered all the previous steps, they’re ready to start riding their bike solo. Show your child how to apply the brake while pedaling. Keep practicing with them to build their confidence until they are able to move forward and stop by their self. Once they’re on their own, play red light, green light having your child start and stop on your command.
Turning point – Lay out two pieces of paper and challenge your child to pedal over the paper. This aids their ability to steer and focus on where they are going. Move the papers around so your child must turn!
Celebrate! – Your child now has all the basic skills to begin riding their own bike. Work on their skills by finding fun games to master turning, stopping, signaling, and safety. As your child masters each new skill, be sure to encourage them and remind them of the progress they’re making. Once they’re comfortable, you’ll be able to start family outings, with your child following right along.
Jennifer Taylor is the proud mama of two, a full-time puppy wrangler and part-time blogger at Mom Tricks.