If like me, you learnt how to ride a bike by starting with a trike, then progressing to a bike with stabilizers, you might be feeling a bit puzzled about how a balance bike works.
These lightweight pedal-less bikes offer an alternative way of learning to ride, and are easier for younger children to use.
Many children now start off with a balance bike, a lightweight frame, with no pedal of or chain mechanism. The child sits on the seat, then scoots along with their feet, enabling them learn to balance, before they learn to pedal.
Since many parents don't have first hand experience of learning to ride this way, Wicken Toys are here to help with these top tips to help your child with their new balance bike.
1. Get The Timing Right It's important to wait until your child is developmentally ready, and enthusiastic to give the balance bike a try. Some children as young as two years old take to the bikes with ease, others are still apprehensive at five. It depends on your child's individual physical development and natural temperament.
2. Set A Good Example Children like to copy whatever their parents do whether it's using the TV remote, or cooking dinner. You can encourage bike riding, by going to safe open space, where you can enjoy a bike ride together
3. Watch How It's Done There are plenty of videos on YouTube of young children learning how to ride a balance bike. If your child is a visual learner, they may find watching how it's done helpful, and the videos may provide you with a few ideas on how to help them too.
4. Practice Falling Nobody wants to fall off their bike, but at sometime everyone looses their balance and takes a tumble. You can help your child by teaching them how to notice when they are off balance. Start on some soft springy grass, you can even place cushions either side of them. Start with both feet on the ground, then tell your child to lift them up briefly, then put them back down. Ask them to notice how the bike wobbles and feels like it is tipping to one side. Now they need to lift both feet up, feel which way the bike is tipping, and catch the fall by putting the correct foot back to down on the ground.
5. Learn About Pedaling Since balance bikes don't teach about pedaling, it can be useful to show your child some pedals in action, either on your bike, on an exercise bike, or they can get plenty of practice by riding a go-Karts.
6. Practice Observing Boundaries Now is a good time to teach them about how far they can go away from you when you are out in public. Set a limit on how far ahead they may scoot, or whereabouts in the park they can go. Build in a safety border so if they go beyond the limit you have time to catch up to them before they are in any danger.
For more tips and ideas on outdoor play, check out the rest of the Wicken Toys blog.