Teaching Your Child To Ride A Bicycle
Teaching Your Child To Ride A Bicycle

Cycling is one of the most loved types of recreation – by both little children and older kids. But first, you need to teach the child to ride a bicycle, because he won’t be able to do it without help and support of the parents. Let's find out how we can do it.

Why Is Bicycle Riding Beneficial?

Riding a bicycle not only charges children with positive energy but also builds up their strength, agility and endurance, strengthens their arm and leg muscles. During cycling, the internal organs become saturated with oxygen, which improves their blood supply.

Pediatricians believe that cycling also builds up the immune system and speeds up the metabolism, which is why they recommend cycling to overweight children and those children who get sick quite often.

Besides, riding a bicycle or a tricycle is a good prevention of child myopia, because the child has to look into the distance constantly. Cycling is also great for boosting spirits and it charges children with a wonderful mood for the whole day.

When Is The Best Time To Start Teaching My Child Cycling?

First cycling attempts – although only on a tricycle – can be made at the age of 1,5. For some reason, many parents are skeptical about this mode of transport, however, it can help the child to master the simplest skills of riding – to turn the handlebar and pedal.

According to CuteLittleDarling, the most important thing in the learning process is not to expect the impossible from your child. Frustration on the part of the parents can cause the child to lose confidence, to develop fear of the bike and unwillingness to learn any further.

Riding Safety

The first training attempts are not always easy and go smoothly. Falls, abrasions, bruises and, as a result, tears – are common during this process. That is why parents need to think about child safety, regardless of what kind of bike (bicycle or tricycle) will be used for training.

1. The child must wear protective gear. Buy a helmet, special knee and elbow pads for him. Make sure the helmet is not too big or too small, and the chin strap should be adjustable. Let the child wear all the protective gear during each and every training.

2. The child should wear comfortable-for-the-occasion shoes that hug the foot and have non-slip wide soles to ensure the “grip” with the pedals. Do not let the child train barefoot or in sandals: if the foot suddenly slips or flies off, the child will hurt his toes.

3. The bike must meet the basic requirements: have a comfortable steering and seat, with ease of movement, maneuverability and high-quality materials. It should not have any sharp edges that might bruise the child or any plastic parts that might break off and be swallowed.

Learning To Ride a Tricycle

1. The first step is the selection of the bike for the kid’s height. Let the child sit on it. If the child is able to reach the ground with his entire foot and bend his knees slightly, it means that you have chosen the bicycle correctly.

2. Show the child that if the bike is pushed as a stroller, it can roll. For demonstration, place a teddy bear on the seat. Let the child roll the bike with the toy, turn the handlebar during the process and learn the details of the movement. Afterwards, offer the child to take his place in the saddle and start teaching him riding.

3. If the area of the apartment permits, start training inside. Put the hands of the child on the handlebar and place his small feet on the pedals. Slightly holding his hips, show him how his legs are moving during riding. And now let him try it himself, and you can do light pushing from behind. On a tricycle the child learns a simple skill – the fact that movement occurs when the pedals are rotating.

4. The next stage: you can start training outside. A stadium or a schoolyard with a flat surface and absence of any vehicles would be a perfect location. Now, the child's attention is fully focused on pedaling, and he can ride anywhere without choosing a particular direction.

5. A conscious control will come only after the child has finished mastering the ability to pedal automatically. Some parents first teach steering and only then focus their child’s attention to pedaling. There is not much of a difference, but teaching these two skills should be done in phases, as the child cannot steer and pedal at the same time yet.

Remember that training should not last for more than half an hour. And if the child is misbehaving or refusing to continue the training, do not persist. Postpone the training until another time.

Practicing Riding A Bicycle

So, it is time to switch to a more advanced form of transport – a two-wheeled bicycle. Most often it occurs at the age of 4. Read here about choosing a bike for a four-year-old child.

1. Adjust the bicycle seat so that the child, while sitting on it, can reach the ground with his feet. When the child learns to confidently stay in the saddle, you can raise it some more – to the required height.

2. Some adults use training wheels for security. However, in the opinion of many experienced parents, they should not be used, since they don’t let the child learn to keep balance. They should rather be used if your child has not trained riding a tricycle.

3. The next step is to turn the bike into a scooter by removing one pedal for some time. The child accelerates, pushes off the ground with one foot, while the other one rests on the pedal. However, he still has to hold the handlebar with both hands. This simple way helps the child to improve his ability to maintain balance.

4. Get the pedals back in place and let him try to ride the bike with your support. Do not hold the bike at the handlebar or the seat. Just follow the kid, holding him by the shoulders.

5. Do not forget to teach the child to get off the bike properly. First, teach him to lean the bike towards himself while resting the other foot on the ground. Try the same exercise on the other side of the bicycle.

6. Another important point – the ability to slow down. Roll the bike along with the child on it and ask him to brake. Immediately let go of the bike and make sure that the child, after braking, puts his foot on the ground.

Learning to ride a bike should be a positive and rewarding experience for your kid. Therefore, do not keep the purchase of the bike on the backburner. Perhaps, the genuine interest and delight of the child might inspire the rest of the family, and soon the mom and the dad will also become ardent cyclists.

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