It’s unlikely that most parents can remember the steps they went through themselves when they were learning to ride a bike; so the thought of teaching a child how to ride a bike can be daunting. Where do you even start? Here are some tips that may help you get your little ones peddling away unaided.
There’s no hard-and-fast rule as to when a child should learn to ride a bike. The age for each child will vary; as is the case with all stages of development. However, experts* say that the ideal age for a child to learn to ride a bike is between four and six years old, as after this age they may become more cautious. The important things are to make sure that your child has reached the age where they have the coordination needed to learn to ride a bike, and that they always wear a safety helmet.
One way to start is by helping your child to learn the feeling and balance of the bike, without the pedals. A balance bike is very useful here, or you can lower the seat and remove the pedals of a regular bike. Get your child to push themselves along, learning how to balance and turn. Don’t put the seat too low – allow them to just about touch the floor, otherwise you’ll probably find they rely on their feet as stabilisers instead of finding the balance.
The best place to go to start to learn is somewhere quiet with a flat, tarmac surface; even a small slope can be enough for your little one to pick up too much speed. While it’s tempting to use a grassy area for a soft landing, it can make learning difficult – as your child will have to push quite hard on a grass surface.
If they crash or fall off in the early stages it can knock their confidence, so when they’re on the bike, hold your child around the torso or under the armpits as they ride – not the handlebars, as this will make it more difficult for them. Then, once they learn to balance themselves, let them ride without you holding on, but stay by their side until they are completely confident about stopping.
It’s always handy to keep a pot of My Little Sudocrem close by, in case your little one does happen to fall off.