Parenting comes with all sorts of scraped knees and bruises, and perhaps more so when you are teaching your child how to ride a bicycle. It’s difficult to know when to buy your child his or her first bicycle, but you should make sure that they have been riding a plastic trike or push-bike first. This will teach them how to steer and make the transition smoother.
When children get to about 4 years of age, many parents start thinking about introducing their child to a small bicycle with training wheels. This is perfect, provided that you take the necessary precautions and help them learn to ride safely. An essential item to remember when purchasing a bicycle is a helmet. You can find kids size helmets at sporting good stores as well as some of the large kids and baby department stores.
When you start teaching your child to ride a bike, here are some useful tips to make things a little easier.
1) Be Confident
If you are confident, your child will be confident too. Explain how they have to push the pedals and hold onto the handles to make the bicycle move forward. Reassure them that you will be there the entire time. One of the very important things to do is to teach them where the brakes are and how to use them, before they get moving. Also, teach them how to get on and off the bicycle easily so that they don’t panic if they feel stuck.
2) Take it Easy
Don’t push them to learn in one day. Allow them to get a feel for their bicycle and be there to guide them until they are comfortable. Once you feel that they are ready, start separating yourself from the bike. Start off by letting them ride to you. You can do this down the driveway or along the patio. Make sure that the distance isn’t too long and that they have plenty of room.
3) Increasing Confidence
Keep encouraging them and praising them the entire time they are learning. It will boost their confidence even more and help them to learn faster. Once you have practiced short distances, then you can get them to practice maneuvering their bicycle around trees, shaped pathways or anything else you have at home.
4) Taking off the Training Wheels
This step should only come in after a few months of riding with the training wheels. Your child might also be too young to have the training wheels removed, so you will need to judge when they are ready. Here are some guidelines:
- Are they confident when riding?
- Do they display responsibility when riding, taking care to mind other people and being cautious?
- Are they maneuvering the bike correctly?
- Are they emotionally ready? (do they get nervous or scared to ride their bike?)
If you answered yes to all the questions above, it’s time to take the training wheels off. Now teaching your child to ride becomes a whole new set of challenges. First things first, you have to explain to your child that riding their bicycle won’t be the same. You have to tell them to concentrate a little more on what they’re doing, and that if they don’t that they might fall. Making them aware that it is okay to fall off and that falling is all part of the learning process will help the situation – and help them develop into more alert cyclists. Now, when they do fall off it need not be seen as any kind of set-back, and they’ll be quicker to jump back in the saddle.
Look Mom, No Training Wheels
When you start teaching your child to ride a bicycle without training wheels, the first thing you must do is re-establish their confidence, so start off by holding onto the bicycle while they ride until they are confident to do it alone. Once again let them ride a short distance to you, or from you to someone else. This will boost their confidence even more.
Slowly increase the distance and ensure that they are completely comfortable and secure in riding the distances before you increase them. To start with, try to get them to ride in a straight line.
After a while you can let them ride in patterns or circles and monitor them outside until they are totally in control of their bicycle.
Congrats! Pretty soon you will have a child who can ride a bicycle confidently and then you will need to look at getting a bigger bicycle!