Teaching your kids how to ride a bike is still one of the most popular ways for parents to teach their children important life skills. It’s also something that can be difficult and frustrating, particularly if you have little or no experience on two wheels yourself. Here are some tips from experts on teaching your son or daughter new tricks in the saddle without too much pain!
The “how to teach an older kid to ride a bike” is a guide that will help parents teach their children how to ride a bike. It includes tips for teaching kids as well as tricks and techniques for making the process easier.
Learning how to ride a bike is a rite of passage for all children. Gus, my son, discovered it a few years ago. Scout, my six-month-old daughter, just learned to ride a two-wheeler.
This was going to be a rite of scratched elbows, bruised knees, and a lot of tears, I thought. I expected to be irritated trying to teach my children how to peddle, balance, and steer a bicycle. Because that’s how I recall learning to ride a bike as a kid: my parents getting irritated and me being harmed.
My children, on the other hand, were spared from all of this.
Instead, we came into a very successful regimen that managed to make the process almost pain-free, anxiety-free, and parental-intervention-free. A way by which our children learnt to ride a bike naturally and independently.
It’s divided into three stages, each of which involves introducing a succession of multi-wheeled vehicles that enable your children to gradually master new abilities until they’re ready to ride a real bike.
Phase 1: Tricycle + Three-Wheeled Scooter
My kids were zooming about on plastic three-wheeled scooters by the time they were two or three years old. They’re a safe method for your kids to learn how to balance and guide a moving item, which are both necessary abilities for riding a bike.
As soon as possible, get your child on a scooter. They’re relatively inexpensive, which is excellent since you’ll probably go through a few as he grows.
Get your kid a tricycle or “Big Wheel” in addition to the scooters so he can learn to pedal.
Phase 2: Training-Wheeled Bike + Balance Bike
This is a bike that allows you to balance.
When I first started to ride a bike, there were no balance bikes, and these devices are a game changer when it comes to teaching your child how to ride a real bike. A balancing bike is just a bike that does not have pedals. Your child sits astride it, her feet touching the ground, and propels herself with those feet. Your child elevates her feet for a smooth glide after the bike has gained some motion.
Balance bikes, as their name implies, teach the most fundamental ability for riding a real bike: balance.
Balance bikes, which lack training wheels, enable your child to take sharper curves and experience what it’s like to lean to the side while turning without falling over. (This is something you can’t do as well on a bike with training wheels.)
We didn’t introduce Gus to the balancing bike until he was five years old since it wasn’t on our radar at the time. I would have introduced it sooner if they had been. It was undoubtedly the factor that enabled him to enjoy biking. Scout first rode a balancing bike when she was around three years old.
While a child who has been training on a balancing bike understands how to balance, he hasn’t yet tried his hand (and foot) at pedaling upright and braking.
That’s why having your youngster ride a balancing bike and a conventional bike with training wheels at the same time is beneficial (well, not exactly at the same time; that would be a circus-worthy act). Depending on their mood that day, our kids would switch between the two (and Scout would also return to her scooter and Big Wheel).
Three-Wheeled Bike (Phase 3)
After gaining experience on scooters and Big Wheels, and then experimenting with balancing bikes and training-wheeled cycles, both youngsters naturally felt ready to abandon the former and remove the safety net from the latter.
Both of our children made the transition to riding a standard two-wheeled bike with ease. I didn’t hang on to the seat or handlebars, didn’t run alongside the bike, and didn’t really provide any coaching. Gus and Scout just climbed onto the seat and began cycling on their own. There will be no crashes. There were no tears shed.
If all of this seems to be a lot of little cars to purchase in order to get a child to ride a bike, keep the following in mind:
- Your youngest children should already be riding scooters or tricycles. What better way to have fun than to be active outside? As a result, all human-powered vehicles have been among the few “toys” we’ve been prepared to invest in. Scooters are also reasonably priced.
- Spending money on balancing bikes (which aren’t cheap) may be a difficult pill to chew, especially because your kids will outgrow them rapidly. However, many parents with older children have them laying around unused as a result of this; we borrowed ours from relatives. There are also likely to find decent, high-quality models on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for a low price.
- Training wheels are also inexpensive and something that many individuals have laying around that they are willing to leave with. Ours came from a yard sale.
- You’ll be getting the two-wheeled bike with the training wheels anyhow.
In other words, the only “extra” equipment you’ll need for this process — stuff you wouldn’t have gotten anyway — is a balance bike or training wheels (you’ll almost certainly need one or the other to teach a child to ride a bike), and if you ask around, you’ll probably be able to borrow or get this equipment.
Your children will have lots of reasons to play outdoors as they like multi-wheeled rides and will quickly learn to ride a two-wheeled bike; you will need to do very little to get them there. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
If there’s one drawback, it’s that I nearly feel cheated out of a classic Dad experience! But I wouldn’t exchange this experience for a more difficult one.
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