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NO MORE days by days running behind your child when he/she rides a bike. NO MORE falls, NO MORE cries and NO MORE fear of crashing.
Nowadays, learning to ride bicycle is not that harsh. So, how do we as parents accelerate the learning process without pushing our kids too much? How removing pedals and training wheels can help toddlers and preschoolers learn to ride easier?
You may think there would be some dark arts here, right? In fact, with an ideal balance bike, most tots can be taught in less than an hour – about 30 minutes! Funny how a balance bike makes such a difference, isn’t it? Below are 4 steps to ensure your young riders can conquer a bicycle in 30 minutes:
Step 1: GET THE BEST BALANCE BIKE
If you’re not a believer of balance bikes, then you’ll find it hard to imagine that this “riding toy” helped my 2-year-old girl to switch to pedal bike quickly and easily. Starting on the right balance bike is the Strider Pro, she conquered the hardest part of riding a bike is balancing first.
There have never been more choice and quality in kids’ balance bike that gives parents a greater variety of decisions best fitting their needs. How about your child’s needs exactly? Children are different from each another and have different needs, depending on their maturity level. A 18-month-old or 2-year-old toddler wouldn’t have strong fingers to squeeze the hand brakes efficiently. On the contrary, older riders from 3-5 years old can deal with brakes without trouble.
Another example, at first, my little girl wanted a wooden bike as it was very gorgoeus. But 9 pounds in weight, not to mention the lack of adjustability, made me think it wasn’t meant for children younger than two. You should consider carefully before buying a balance bike for kids, do not take it for granted. Find out what factors have to think of when choosing the best balance bike right here.
Step 2: LOWER THE SEAT AND LEARN TO STOP BEFORE STARTING
Lowering the seat is an important second step which helps build a greater feeling of better control for kids. Moreover, make sure your riders can place both feet firmly on the ground and stand stably. You can stand beside them, let them walk along, coast and glide on the balance bike and practice stopping independently by their feet! (You can grab your child to stop him/her if he/she is too young for this skill, but I do not recommend it) If your balance bike has brake, spend some time playing games like “Red Light / Green Light” until braking becomes natural.
Step 3: LEARN TO BALANCE AND GAIN THE MOMENTUM
Encourage your little ones begin by scooting on the balance bike so that they can get the feeling of balance. Once kids are comfortable scooting along, they can be challenged to pick up their feet and coast. It will be more perfect when you might hop on your own bike first and show them how to coast with legs (don’t forget to wear a helmet 😀 )
If the balance bike is going to tip over, they will put their feet back down to the ground to regain the balance or to stop the bike smoothly. This is the result of learning to stop before starting I’ve mentioned above. With this method, your young riders will soon be gliding along with feet off the ground confidently before you know it.
My little girl did this for about 20 minutes. But I wasn’t in a hurry to launch the pedal bicycle. I let her practice and play with balance bike a couple of days to let her ability to mature and for her to master the hardest part: balancing. Ah, I almost forgot, remind your child to look ahead while riding.
Now we turn to step 4: Riding with Pedals
Step 4: READY FOR PEDALS
It’s time to get pedalling!
After your child has wholly internalized the “balance” part, he/she can transition to a traditional bike with saddle raised to a normal height. However, not all children, even those are adept at balancing can nail this step at once.
Therefore, it is important to nicely encourage kids to pedal instead of pushing them too much like “Pedal! Pedal or you will fall!”. Don’t be stressed if your child put in too few pedal revolutions. You may help him/her practice pedalling at home without the bike but with your hands. Get your kid to sit on the chair and tell him/her to place both feet on your hands. Then encourage him/her to put pressure on the hands like he/she was pedal on the real bike.
I spent 10 minutes daily to follow this method with my little girl. The result made it worth a try: after 3 days, she was adept at pedalling and could smoothly ride on her own even when the saddle was raised up.
To summarize, you should remember that none couple of children are the same, so it may take 10 minutes, 30 minutes or even many weeks to teach a child to ride bicycle. Nevertheless, don’t be discouraged as it will be worth in the end. I am not 100% sure if these tips will help your toddlers and preschoolers master a pedal bike in exactly 30 minutes. But here are some “truisms” I can assure:
1 – Balance is the key for a child to learn to cycle that maybe hindered by stabilisers
2 – Balance bikes are great in teaching kids all about balancing and learning with fun. Choosing the best balance bike for your child will speed up his/her training process significantly!
3 – Practice makes perfect.
I truly hope that after applying my method in this article, soon you will watch your little ones whizz by happily.
The infographic below is TinyBiker’s wrap-up of Teaching Kids to ride in 30 minutes. Check it out: