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Teaching kids to ride their first bike

 
Learning to ride a bike is quite a milestone in a child’s life. When you start to teach them is up to you, with some kids starting to learn as early as 3 years old. Generally though it’s usually around their 4th or 5th birthday or sometimes even later. Follow these easy steps to help them on their way.
Learning to ride a bike is quite a milestone in a child’s life.

When you start to teach them is up to you, with some kids starting to learn as early as 3 years old.

Generally though it’s usually around their 4th or 5th birthday or sometimes even later.

The process is often made easier for those who have previously used a balance bike (one without pedals), as it helps them to learn balance and pushing themselves forward.

Follow these easy steps to help them on their way.
 

Step 1 - Preparation

 
  • If you’re not sure where to start or what sort of bike to buy get some advice from a specialist bike shop.
 
  • Don’t fall into the trap of buying a bike that’s too small. Although you can raise the saddle, it can make the bike wobbly and unsafe if the seat is too high.
 
  • Second-hand bikes make good cheap first bikes, but check everything's in working order before you buy it.
 
  • Buy a helmet that fits your child properly and has a safety standard mark.
 
  • Make sure everything’s working on their bike before they ride off.
 

Step 2 - Location

 
  • Grass may seem the obvious choice for a softer landing when kids are learning to ride a bike, but it’s usually uneven and actually quite hard to pedal on.
 
  • Look for a path or piece of tarmac that has a very slight slope to help your child gain some momentum.
 

Step 3 - Learning to stop

 
  • There is no use teaching your little one to ride their bike if they don’t know how to stop! So it’s important you show them how to stop before they even get started.
 
  • Sit them on the saddle with their feet on the ground (not the pedals), holding the handlebars. Support their back gently with your hand and encourage them to propel themselves forward and put the brakes on.
 

Step 4 - Understanding steering

 
  • The key with steering is for your child to look where they want to go and slowly turn using small movements with the handlebars.
 
  • Guide them with your hands in the beginning if they need help. Don't fully hold on to them.
 
  • When they become more confident, make a game of riding around in a circle in both directions to help practice their steering.
 

Step 5 - Managing your expectations

 
  • Understand that all kids are different when it comes to learning how to ride a bike. Some kids pick up cycling quickly whilst others take longer.
 
  • Take a rest or choose another day if your little one is struggling or feeling tired.
 
  • Be prepared to use whatever coping strategy helps when they start crying because it’s too difficult or they’ve taken a fall.
 

Step 6 - Remember to have fun

 
  • Whether it’s involving friends or an older sibling, make learning to ride their bike as low pressure and as enjoyable as possible.
 
  • Keep motivating your child and introducing fun games to practice stopping, starting and steering until they’re fully confident to ride on their own.


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Image source: bikestylespokane.com
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