As with a number of other essential life skills, teaching your child to ride a bike is not a simple task, nor is it necessarily a quick one. Although children from as young as 4 or 5 have ample enough balance to be able to learn to ride a bike, it’s a process of learning which can take weeks and sometimes even months of effort on the part of you and your child, and this means that unless you have infinite time and resources, you might need some help training your child to ride a bike. Here are some winning strategies.
The Downhill Method
If you think your child has a strong sense of balance, one of the best strategies you can pursue is to take your child to the top of a shallow, small hill and let them ride down with you stood alongside them holding the handlebars. The advantage to being on a hill is that the forward momentum means your child doesn’t need to necessarily peddle, allowing their attention to be centred on balance, the most challenging aspect of learning to ride a bike.
Ignore the Small Details
When you learn to drive a car, your instructor might get a whiteboard out to inform you of how the clutch and brakes work to help explain what you’re doing a little bit clearer. Although this is a successful technique in this situation, paying attention to the smaller details of bike riding should be prohibited. For example, buy your child a beginner’s bike with a single gear and brake as they can always learn about gears and separate front and back brakes at a later time.
Stabilisers or No Stabilisers
Some people will argue that stabilisers have a negative impact on your child’s development. Instead, these people believe that you should simply hold the handlebars to help keep them balanced. Unfortunately, this method is only effective if you’re prepared to put your child’s safety at risk, as there’s plenty of opportunity where they could fall off if you’re not close by.
Stabilisers might, therefore, be a more sensible course of balance training, simply because they’re never going to fail your child. Speaking of safety, you should also purchase your child a safety helmet and shin pads, as cuts and bruises to the knees can be totally avoided in this way.
So there you have it, a short guide to teaching your child to ride a bike.