The first time I taught Matty how to ride a bike, he got frustrated and quit before trying. He wasn't athletically coordinated and relied heavily on training wheels.
I owe a lot of my success to a few things we did right. In this article, you’ll learn about the exact things you need to do to teach your kid to ride a bike fast and quick.
Seriously, the LAST THING you want to do is let your kid fall over and lose two front teeth. The kid will be traumatized, and it may take time for the kid to pick up the hang of riding the bike again.
Below are the steps you need to follow when teaching your kid how to ride a bike after getting the best bicycle for the kids.
1) Pedaling: The Most Important Skill a Kid Needs to Learn Before Riding a Bike
It takes time for a kid to learn how to ride a bike. Picture it like a process a kid goes through before they start to walk. They will fall many times before they can do it. At the age of 3 is when you introduce them to training wheels.
Training wheels have a special place in a kid's life. They will teach your kids two vital things:
- How to pedal
- Get used to the right posture when pedaling.
In other words, they ease the effort your kid needs to ride a bike. Training wheels are excellent because they give your kid the feeling of “I’m a bike rider.” Kids enjoy the ride and learn the unnatural skill of pedaling.
Most importantly, they raise the confidence of the kid. That's why the first bike you need to buy your kid when he is a toddler is a training wheel. That way, he will learn this most crucial skill. After your kid reaches the age of 4 or 5, he needs to know the next skill is balancing.
Balance helps them maintain excellent control of their body position when they ride a bike. With the training wheels, all you need is to encourage them to pedal so they get the hang of it. Alternatively, you can give them presents or treats when they do it well.
Note: It's essential to teach your kids one skill at a time until they master it. Teaching them all the skill at once will intimidate and make them give up too early. Let's look at the second skill.
2) Balancing: Easy Way To Teach Your Kids How to Balance
The best time to teach your kid how to balance is age five years and above. It is time you can take off the training wheels or get them a balance bike. Balancing is not a natural skill that comes easily to kids or adults learning how to ride a bike.
Choosing the correct balance bike for your kid
If you have to buy a bike, get them a cheap one. Choose a bike with a single gear and a foot brake. These types of bikes need less coordination than bikes with multiple brakes. Ensure that the bike is not too big for your kid to control. For a perfect bike size, follow these instructions:
- Let him or her sit on the saddle while resting both feet on the ground.
- Straddle the top bar and ensure it has the perfect clearance with both his feet touching the ground
- The kid should reach the handlebars and brakes with a slight bend. They shouldn’t lean too much forward.
During the training, you may want to lower the seat a bit so the feet can touch the ground. Doing so will give the kids a lot of confidence that they can't fall.
Besides that, ensure your kid has comfortable clothes that won't block them from getting on or off the bike. For a lady, a skirt is not ideal because it gets stuck on the saddle.
Avoid baggy pants and wide-legged trousers. Buy shoes that have enough grip to prevent slippage. Finally, ensure your kid has a helmet. Once you have all these taken care of, you can now begin training your kid.
They will fall off a few times, and they might even lose their teeth.
Here’s how you can get started with balancing:
Step 1: Find an open place with short grass or pavement. The field is better because kids aren't afraid to fall in the grass, but they are scared of asphalt.
In open grass, kids will work hard to pedal, which slows the bike's speed. Ensure the petals are off so that they can start feeling the balance.
Step 2: Tell the kid to walk the bike forward. Assure them their feet will prevent them from falling. Doing this helps your kid to learn and enjoy the sensation of leaning without falling off the bike.
Let them do this a couple of times to build their confidence and trust in their body. Furthermore, you can walk beside them as they walk the bike.
Step 3: Tell them to lift their feet and start pedaling when they are ready. Hold their shoulders and not the bike's seat. Gripping your hand on their seat is an ineffective method because they won't learn to balance.
You may find it natural to stabilize them, but you will hinder them from taking-off and damage your back. Promise to hold their shoulders whenever they want to fall.
This technique will have your kid riding the bike in seconds. It would help if you encouraged them to continue pedaling and looking forward while letting go of their shoulders.
Steering and Turning the Bike
Balancing is a challenging skill for a kid to master. But once they have mastered it, the next steps are simple for the kid. Steering and turning should be easy for your kids to master. An excellent balance bike will teach your kids steering and its limits.
The challenging part is the steering handlebar jerking as your kids learn to steer. That's the main reason why most kids fall off while steering. Motivate them to hold the steering wheel very tight so that their handlebar doesn't jerk often.
Alternatively, you can have a second person during the training with a bike. The person should ride their bike as your kids follow. He should ride slow and make big turns while your kid follows them.
At first, steering and turning are wobbling, but it won't take long before your kid knows how to do it. Encourage your kid to steer and turn the bike a couple of times to get used to it before teaching them how to break.
From Foot-Braking to Hand Braking
Chances are, your kid is using their feet as breaking. However, this is a good idea for kids to learn how to stop using their feet, and everyone does it.
Once your kid knows how to steer and turn the bike, it is vital teaching them how to use hand brakes. When a kid uses hand brakes, they have more control over the bike than when they use a foot-brake
You want them to know how it feels like stopping the bike using a hand brake. A lot of kids tend to pedal back as a way to slow down. Hand brakes are efficient because kids have more control when they slow down on the bike.
To get started, here is what to do:
Step 1: Get the kid off the bike and instruct them to walk it.
Step 2: Make sure the kid is holding both the handlebars. Tell them to pull the brake levers on and off. That way, they will learn how to brake and how easy the bike stops. They'll have the confidence to do it often.
Step 3: Instruct the kid to get on the bike and ride slowly. After a few seconds, tell them to stop pedaling and pull the brake levers on. Do that couple of times until the kid can use a hand brake safely without any problem.
It won't take long before your kid knows how to use hand brakes. The next step is training your kid to ride a bike in different places like a small slope.
Choose a slight grassy slope where your kid will feel the balance when they are riding the bike. Riding on a slope allows your kid to focus on steering and pedals. Don't limit yourself to slopes alone. There are so many areas you can try your kid.
Congratulations!! You can now teach your kid how to ride a bike but what if you are not the right teacher? If you don't feel confident training your kid, have someone else who your kid trusts to train them. We've all heard of stories of kids behaving well when they are in someone's arms.
Finally, consider having peers or friends who know how to ride a bike. Have them come out with their bike so your kid can watch and learn. Doing these will ace their training and make them learn fast because they will want to have fun like other kids. We hope these instructions in this article will help you train your kid.