Our kids have all learned to ride their bike before they turned five. It was so much more simple than I thought… maybe because I was anticipating it to be so much harder.
5) Start in the grass
One of the keys is to start your kids off in a place that they feel safe. A place that they are comfortable and a place they know if they fall they will be OK! Chose a place that has a a short cushion on the ground in case they fall. Places like a flat area of your yard, or an area at their favorite play ground area. We taught all of of kids at one of the local schools on their soccer fields. It was a great space that was flat, open, and long enough to give them the courage they need!
4) Use a smaller bike
I am not against using one of the “balance bikes/scooters.” (the one with out the pedals). I think they are great for balance, but it does not promote the act of biking…. the whole pedaling part. Instead try using a smaller bike than what size they should be in. For sure this will boost your child’s confidence! Every single one of our kids and our niece and nephew learned on the same bike! When they are ready they will let you know that the bike is too small.
3) Give them plenty of opportunities
This is a Huge Tip! More than anything you try to do… give them a lot of opportunities to go for a bike ride. If their older brothers or sisters are out riding, encourage your little one to try! We made sure that we always took at least 10 minutes every evening to TRY and go on a bike ride. With increasing the opportunities, we also made sure they had access to their bikes. I know it can be a pain to leave the bike out (taking up room in the garage), but you never know when they will just pick up their bike, strap on their helmet and want to just go! (This is actually what happened to our youngest son, Ethan after watching his older brother’s do it – he was not even four yet and just started riding without training wheels!)
2)Don’t just let go… let them know you’ll be there!
It is easier to take control of the bike to start. Hold the handle bars and the back of the seat to start. Then allow you kids to hold the handle bars by them self got help get their confidence. Once are comfortable ask them, “Are your ready to try and DO IT by yourself?”
This is one I had to hold back on when teaching my boys to ride their bike. I think it is our natural instinct as a parent that if we think our kids are doing well to just let go. As I think it can work for some kids, it will actually give your child a mixed message.
YOU: “I promise I will not let go!”
KID: “You Promise!”
Then you are running beside them and they and peddling their little hearts out and you let go. They take a few pedals before they realize you are no longer holding on and then…CRASH! Now you broke their word and and are crying “You said you wouldn’t let go!” They will be hesitant to get on again. Don’t break their trust in you – keep your word. (in all things)
1) Praise… Praise… Praise!
This is number one for a reason! Kids and adults love to know that they are appreciated. They want to hear “You did a great job today!” or “I am so proud of how how many times you tried…” Everyone needs a pat on the back!
Here was Beau’s first time on a bike. He did great – he would fall & get back up. He would try again & again until he got it.