6 tips to help you teach a child to ride a bike
The best thing to teach a preschooler in spring is to ride a bike. This is not as difficult as it seems, and if a simple algorithm is followed, literally any three or four-year-old child will easily go. On two wheels at once.
1. Start early with a balance bike
Runbikes, bike runs, two-wheeled trolleys, similar to a bicycle without pedals, have become popular all over the world for a reason. Already at two years old, a child can learn to balance, keep the steering wheel straight, fit into turns and will not be afraid of speed. After running the bike, the only wisdom you need to master on the bike is to pedal. But if you get on a bike from scratch, your child will have to learn and balance, and steer, and pedal at the same time — which is much more difficult, especially at 3-4 years old.
Do not forget to buy a helmet with a balance bike — it will be easier to explain to your child that a two-wheeled vehicle and protection are inseparable.
2. Choose the lightest bike
Bicycles for children are made, as a rule, from the cheapest, outdated and heavy components — and this despite the fact that for strong and resilient adults, manufacturers every year come up with more and more lightweight solutions. Look for the lightest thing on the market for kids. Don’t listen to salespeople touting a 12-15kg bike with the «but it’s sustainable» argument. Your child will ride on his own, without any safety wheels and handles — and it will be extremely difficult for him to move this heavy structure.
3. Don’t buy a bike to grow
The idea of buying a bicycle for a three-year-old that can be ridden at five or seven is extremely attractive for the family budget. But it does not work at all if you want to teach a child to drive independently without any safety wheels. The fact is that for successful training, the legs of a small cyclist, when he sits in the saddle, must stand firmly on the ground with a full foot. Therefore, it is unlikely that a three-year-old will do a bike with wheels over 12 inches, and a four-year-old — more than 14. It turns out that such a bicycle will last a season or two — but it won’t get dusty, the child will really be able to ride it. The best option for saving is to buy a used bike, especially since the previous owner hardly managed to «exploit» it to death in a year or two.
4. Unscrew everything unnecessary (and especially the safety wheels)
A child who has experience in running bikes does not need any additional wheels and handles: for one or two days (well, a maximum of a week) you support him behind his back, he learns to pedal, and then get under way — and voila. But by unscrewing unnecessary accessories (for example, a heavy trunk, a footboard, etc.), you will reduce the weight of the bike and it will be much easier for your child to handle it.
5. Do not hold by the seat
So, everything is ready, there is a bicycle in height, in front of you is a wide, straight path in a park or in the yard. Encourage your child to first ride a bike like a balance bike, pushing off the ground. Then tell me how to bring the pedals into a comfortable position so that when you put your feet on them, you can push the bike forward. And try to ride: the baby sits and pedals, and you lightly hold him by the clothes (jacket or sweater on the back). Under no circumstances hold the seat: keeping the bike in balance is the task of your child, and you only help him not to fall over at the same time.
6. Show an example
We gave our son a bicycle when he was three years old, and at three years and one month he was already riding on his own. I had to learn to get under way a little longer (at first I needed help, give me a little push, and then I drove well). As the son himself told us later, our example helped him understand how to travel correctly. My husband and I drove a lot and carry the child in a bicycle seat, and as soon as the son got on the bike himself, we began to ride to the nearest park all together — we were on our bikes, the child was on his own. By the end of the summer, he had already traveled up to five kilometers completely independently without much difficulty.