1. Prepare Them, Physically and Mentally
First and foremost, you need to prepare your child for the experience of riding a bike. This means that you should encourage them to engage in some kind of physical activity. While they have to prepare mentally for riding a bike, they also need to look forward to riding it physically, by adding some increased fitness into their routine. By making them more physically ready for biking, they will be more inclined to pick up the bike, because it will feel comfortable to them, and natural.
Start Them off Slow
When it comes to teaching your child to ride a bike, you need to start slow. Don’t try to rush them and start with a lower, comfortable seat, and a bike that isn’t too big. A smaller bike is more manageable for children when they are starting, and will give them a better sense of balance and overall comfort. It will also be safer and easier for them to pedal and maneuver, our suggestion is to start with a 12 inches bike.
2. Start with a Trike and Balance Bike
The conventional methods of teaching a child to ride a bike have been implemented for many years. Many kids have difficulty learning to ride a bike and will give up after repeated failed attempts.
There is another way that is predominantly used in countries such as Denmark.
When a young child is old enough to support their weight on two feet, they are taught on a balance bike. Balance bikes resemble a bicycle without the pedals and utilize a child’s natural sense of balancing to balance the bike to move forward. This allows the child to learn to balance in an upright position and develop the coordination that will, later on, help him learn to ride a bike. Because learning to ride a bike is not just about balance. A child needs to develop coordination between both hands and feet and digest the combination of the various actions involved in riding a bike, like shifting their weight, pedaling, and steering.
Therefore, using a balance bike will help them develop a foundation to learn to ride a bike in a matter of weeks. Instead of using wheels made of plastic or training wheels, balance bikes allow them to develop their balance and coordination while still standing upright. Once a child has developed their balance, coordination and has overcome the fear of falling, they are ready to learn to ride a bike.
3. Make Sure the Bike Size is Right
Before you take your child out to learn how to ride a bike, you should carefully inspect his bike for sizing and stability issues. Have your child sit on the bike and make sure that his feet reach the pedals comfortably. Once he is on the bike, see how tall he is against the handlebars, making sure that his arms can reach the bars, yet his knees do not come up too high. This will help ensure that he will be able to operate the bike properly. Of course, you will also want to make sure that the brakes work well and that there are no dangling or broken components.
4. Find a Safe and Quiet Location to Practice
Just like kids learn to walk and develop their balance and coordination skills, they need the same safe and quiet space to practice riding a bike.
Our days are full and filled with modern activities. Playdates and soccer practice are jostling for your attention. Finding that safe space that’s convenient can be challenging.
It may be a good idea to pick a location that’s close to home so that it can be your go-to spot for practicing and in that way your kid can learn to ride in a quiet environment that’s not littered with distractions.
Some of the best options for practicing include an empty parking lot, an empty parking driveway, or a bike path that’s not too crowded.
The main thing to keep in mind is that it needs to be a place that is going to keep your child safe. Look for flat surfaces and a gentle incline.
5. Build your Child's Confidence
If your child has never ridden a bike before, then you need to start slowly to gain their confidence. Making sure they have the right bike and the right gear is crucial. They need to have a helmet and protective gear.
Once they’re ready, start by walking with them and encouraging them to ride. You can also ride with them to help get the hang of it. You need to keep the bike moving at a steady pace, and you should motivate them vocally to get them to pedal as they’re riding. You need to reassure them that as long as they keep moving, they’re not going to fall, and that's going to help them gain confidence and keep trying.
6. Be Patient
Because it’s so fun, learning to ride a bike quickly seems extremely important to kids and parents alike. This may become a counter-productive motivation to teach someone riding a bike.
However, the trick to teaching a child to ride a bike is to foster patience and an overall sense of confidence in the child. By doing so, by extension, they will develop a sense of pride in themselves as well. These are two important characteristics that will help your child avoid the frustration that often leads to fear of riding a bike.
Another important tip is to clear your driveway of any toys, rocks, or trash. This will help your child avoid accidents and spare him from the stress of having to maneuver around obstacles.
Have in mind that repetition will help your child become a more comfortable rider, so you need to assign a few hours per day to ensure that the learning process is complete. If you are a busy person, put it that way: by running alongside your child, you can also use that time to your advantage and get some exercise.
7. Ride with Them
Riding with your child helps them learn and understand a lot more than you think. If you are serious about your child learning how to ride a bike, you might learn as well. This will also help you to understand your child’s first struggles and help teach them how to push through tough times and stick out challenges.
Not only does riding with them teach you a lot about your child's learning process, but it helps you spend some quality time together. This is a huge bonus for both of you. If you are stuck inside the house with an energetic child, riding with them can be a way to release pent up energy and start a healthier lifestyle.
Get on and ride with a little distance in front of them, tell them to follow you, and encourage them when they fall. Don’t be the person pushing them from behind, which may force them to ride faster than they are ready for or to go in a direction they don't want. Be patient and accept the pace they are going, and pay attention to them if they don't feel comfortable.
We hope these tips helped you understand your child better and reduce the time it takes for them to properly learn how to ride a bike.