Health : How to teach a child to ride a bike
Learning to ride a bike is a rite of passage and an ongoing skill. Many of us still remember the feeling of freedom and accomplishment when we first got on two wheels. And lots of dads and moms want to show their kids how to master the bike. So how do you teach your child to ride a bike?
How to teach your child to ride a bike?
In this article, we will guide you through the steps to answer the question: how to teach a daughter or a son to ride a bike. These steps include:
- How to determine if your child is ready to ride
- Make sure you have a suitable bicycle and safety equipment for lessons
- Teach a child to balance and ride without pedals
- Teach a child to start, stop and turn while pedaling
The method we describe in this article is just an approach to teaching cycling. Each cyclist proceeds at his own pace.
How to teach your child to ride a bike – general advice
First, here are some general tips for teaching a child to ride a bike:
- Reward success to help the child gain confidence.
- Be patient and don’t try to force the process. Your child may not pedal right away, but with continued practice, he will understand. Take a break and come back.
- Pay attention to the signs that you should stop and rest.
- Remember that children learn differently and may react to certain methods better than others. Learn what works and adapt as needed.
- Above all, have fun!
How to teach your child to ride a bike: Prepare to ride
When is a child ready to cycle?
There is no right or perfect age to learn to ride a bike. The timing will depend on the child’s physical and mental development, comfort level and coordination. If they don’t have the strength to pedal, you can either wait until they are taller or introduce them to balance bikes, which allows them to feel freewheeling and in balance pushing the bike with their feet. Even very small children can start this way.
The most important factor, however, will be whether they want to learn to cycle. If you think they “should” learn to ride but have no interest, you may want to wait until they are ready. Many teachers and parents are starting to teach children how to learn to ride a bike from ages 5 and up. However, many children start much later.
Make sure your child’s bike fits properly
Finding the right bike for your child is essential. Make sure it can stand above the top tube with both feet planted on the ground. Avoid having a bike that is too large, hoping that your child will grow on it, as it will be more difficult to handle and control. A slightly smaller bike is better than a bike that is too big.
Many children are afraid of falling when they learn to ride a bicycle for the first time. If they are able to withdraw when they need to, it will allay some of these concerns.
Check the range – this is the distance from the bicycle seat to the handlebars. The child should be able to reach the handlebars without leaning too far forward. If the bike has hand brakes, make sure your child can comfortably reach and apply them.
You might also want to ask a store specialist for sporting goods or bikes for advice. To make the experience and process even more interesting, try going with your child. It may be more interesting for him. And, in addition, we can advise you taking into account the physique of your daughter or your son.
Make sure your child has an appropriate helmet
Your child should wear a bicycle helmet every time they ride, even if they are just down the street or around the house or school. To protect your child’s head from serious injury, make sure you get a helmet that fits their head. It should also be worn correctly.
Here are some tips for properly fitting your helmet:
- The helmet should be placed in the middle of the child’s forehead. If the helmet sits high on your forehead or moves too much when you push it from side to side or front to back, adjust the fit or try a different size.
- Adjust the side straps so that they form a “V” shape when the straps rest under each ear.
- Buckle the chin strap making sure it fits properly. You should only be able to slide one or two fingers between the strap and the chin. The helmet should not tip back and forth over the head.
- You can also consider gloves, elbow and shin pads, knee pads and closed shoes.
- Make sure the laces are clear and avoid the loose legs of the pants. Ask your child to wear socks or long pants, as sometimes the pedals and cranks can click the ankles.
How to teach your child to ride a bike: prepare the bike for lessons
This method of teaching a child to ride a bike emphasizes balance on two wheels first and adds pedaling later. In general, children who start on a balance bike have an easier time learning to ride a bike than those who start on training wheels. Balance bikes are designed for your children to practice balance first, but it’s also easy to modify a standard child’s bike.
Remove the drive wheels
Training wheels help kids get used to sitting on a bike and using their legs to pedal, but they don’t help them learn to balance.
Remove the pedals and lower the seat
This allows children to sit straight with a slight bend in their knees and their feet flat on the floor. The goal is to help them feel more comfortable and stable when they start to learn balance.
Note that the pedals can be removed more easily using a pedal wrench.
Correctly inflate the tires of the bicycle
The bike will roll more easily and your child will have an easier time coasting when the bike tires are inflated to the correct pressure. Look for the recommended tire pressure printed on the sidewalls of the tires.
How to teach a child to ride a bike: Where to conduct lessons?
Find a paved, traffic-free area that is large, flat, and smooth, such as an empty tennis or basketball court. Avoid narrow paths and short walkways as you do not want children to worry about leaving the roadway. Lawns and grassy areas are also more difficult, as children cannot get enough speed to learn balance.
How to teach cycling without pedals
Here are the basic steps to start your child’s cycling lessons:
Practice getting on and off the bike
This is an often overlooked step, but some children may need to practice getting on and off a bicycle. Encourage them to do it several times to make them comfortable. Tilt the bike to one side to make it easier if necessary.
Learn to roll and slide
Have the child sit on the pedalless bicycle, hold the handlebars, and go back and forth through the training area while seated on the bicycle. Ask them to try two different ways to move around to see which one is more comfortable:
If you don’t want them to move their feet, then encourage them to take long steps one foot at a time, as they can when they walk inside an inflatable house. Try to make them do long walks like “lunar walk” or “inflatable house” to move their feet.
Grow them with two feet at the same time.
While they are riding the scooter, encourage them to look forward rather than getting up at their feet. If they look up, they tend to stand. To practice this, hold different numbers of fingers as you walk backwards in front of them and ask them to shout the number as they walk towards you.
Once they have mastered the bike, encourage them to lift their feet and slide, increasing the distance they can keep their feet above the ground. You could first get on your own bike and show them how to slide with their legs straight as a counterweight. Younger children may need to be reminded to stay seated (explaining that you cannot lift your feet to slide if you are not seated).
Here are two fun ways to bike:
Using chalk, draw a set of lines about 3 meters (or 10 feet) apart on the sidewalk and draw “hot lava” flames between these lines. Tell the children to pick up speed so they can pick up their feet when they glide over the “hot lava” without putting their feet down. You can extend the “hot lava” as it progresses.
Count to 10 and see if your child can slide their feet in the air for 10 seconds. Gradually add more time as they gain confidence. For example, try singing a song as they roll side by side with their legs on the ground and see how far they can go.
How to teach a child to ride a bike: Direction and turn
Once the children have mastered the ability to ride and slide on the bike, while having fun, proceed to the turns and steering. Start with big easy loop turns.
Here is how to practice this type of practice while playing:
Easy obstacle course
Install orange safety cones in a pattern and have your child practice driving them.
Play “follow the leader”
Get on your bike and ask the child to follow you. (Don’t forget to wear your own helmet.) Go slowly and easily and make big turns from time to time.
How To Learn To Bike With Pedals
Once the child can ride a bike with their feet up, freewheel and look forward while riding, it’s time to put the pedals back on the bike. For now, keep the seat in its lowered position so that your child can still put both feet on the ground to stop.
You want the child to get used to lifting their feet and finding the pedals. To help them do this, hold the handlebars facing the child seated on the bike. Ask them to practice lifting their feet and putting them on the pedals while looking at you or looking forward. If they look at their feet, they are more likely to turn the handlebars and become unbalanced.
Face the child while holding the handlebars. Tell them to focus on the top of your helmet. Tell them that when you say “hot wash” they put their feet on the pedals while looking forward (while you hold them so they don’t fall).
Slowing down and stopping
Before you start pedaling, you will want them to have an idea of the pressure required to operate the brakes.
If they have coaster brakes, hold the bike while they are on it and have them practice gently applying the coaster brakes until they can use them without rocking too much.
If they have hand brakes, have the child walk next to the bike, holding the handles with a few fingers on the brakes. Ask them to use the hand brakes to slow the bike down while walking.
Leaving from a stopped position
Then it’s time to teach the child how to start moving from a stopped position using pedals. There are several ways to approach this. If the bike has gears, make sure it is easy to use. When seated, the child should feel balanced. It will be much more difficult to balance when they are ready to go.
Have the child sit in the bicycle seat with one foot flat on the floor and the other on a pedal raised 1 to 2 hours. (They will not have enough momentum if the pedal is too level.) Teach your child to press hard on the front pedal. This pressure will give the bike its forward momentum.
Another option is to start them with one foot on a pedal in the down position and use the other foot for a scooter, just like you would on a scooter. Take a step on the scooter to increase the speed, then find the second pedal.
Using the long stride or jump technique, they can try to scooter with both feet or one at a time, then find the pedals.
Try to avoid holding the child’s bike when he starts pedaling. You want to give them the opportunity to balance on the bike themselves and feel confident enough to ride alone. If the child has difficulty feeling the sensation, it may be helpful to hold the bicycle for a short time. If they don’t balance well and you have to hold the bike for long periods of time, they may need more work on the balance before they are ready for this step.
Steer and turn the bike
When children learn to pedal, they can start cornering. Encourage your child to make large, wide circles and figures 8. Ask them to first widen and then reduce the turns. Generally, most people find it much easier to turn to one side than the other.
Keep things fun by making a head and turn game:
- Set up a line of cones (or bean bags or other user-friendly items) so your child can navigate. Once the simple turns are mastered, try a more elaborate model.
Practice pedaling and braking with these games:
- Play “Red Light, Green Light”. Vary the distances and encourage ever faster stops.
- Place a safety cone about 10 to 20 feet in front of you on the ground and have your child stopped before hitting him.
Once your child has successfully mastered all of these skills, you can cycle like a family outing!