Most of us have fond memories of learning to ride a bike. And as they say, it’s a skill you never forget. That makes teaching a kid to ride a bike all the more special – it’s something they’ll carry with them for the rest of their life! But that doesn’t make it any easier right now. The truth is, teaching a kid to ride a bike has a few challenges. Often, kids don’t have a lot of confidence to get on a bike. That can be a barrier at first, so taking the right approach is vital. Our advice is to work with your child – and here are out tips for doing so!
When you’re teaching a kid how to ride a bike, you need to break down the process
Kids are still developing. Their motor skills and cognition are quite different to ours. So that’s something worth considering when you’re teaching a kid to ride a bike. If you take the info-dump approach, then all the details can become overwhelming. That’s why we suggest breaking it down. Think about all the different actions involved in riding a bike: breaking, pedalling, balancing, steering etc. Then address each one individually. If you get kids comfortable with motions before they get on the bike seat, then they’re more likely to feel confident in their ability.
First, think about teaching kids how to pedal a bike – balance will come later!
We have seen a lot of kids learning to ride. And one of the most common problems they face is pedalling. Although it seems straightforward, pedalling is actually quite a foreign movement for kids. It’s also closely linked to balance. That’s why we suggest getting your kids on a bike without pedals for a bit. You can take the pedals off easily for this exercise. Simply let your child walk the bike around for a while, to get a feel for balance. This will make the pedalling motion a little less challenging when the time comes to get in the saddle!
How to ride a bike for beginners: don’t be afraid to bring out the training wheels!
Don’t forget the usefulness of training wheels either! Training wheels go hand in hand with the ‘learning to pedal’ stage. Training wheels take balance out of the equation, and let kids get used to the forced acting against them when they pedal. Once that pedalling motion is looking smooth, get rid of the training wheels. Then your child will have no problems going through the motions and finding their balance on the move.
Brake before you ride: teaching a kid to brake before they tackle the streets is the best way to ride
One thing to get on top of before hitting the road is braking. Normally, kids start off with foot braking. This is an easy, safe way to brake for kids – it has little risk of going over the bars! But it is also a very stop-start approach. This is good and bad. It’s good because it allows kids to stop confidently. However, it can be less helpful when it comes to teaching them about controlled slowing. As a result, it’s worth considering hand brakes once your kids have the hang of riding.
Finally, stay supportive when you’re teaching a kid to ride a bike, and give them all the safety gear!
The best way to boost confidence when teaching a kid to ride a bike is vocal support. Stay with them, keep talking, and give them encouragement. It goes a long way, and it will help cement those good memories. Finally, make sure you’re well-equipped on the safety front! Don’t leave anything to chance – give your kids well-fitting helmets as a minimum.
For all the bikes and safety gear you need to teach a kid how to ride, get in touch with us!