You Want Your Child to Ride
One major milestone in a child’s life is to learn how to ride a bicycle on their own and without training wheels. Most children develop at their own pace and the average age is between 5 and 7. Personally, my dad taught me how to ride when I was four, and I have been hooked ever since.
Fears of Child and Parent
Most children will worry about falling and getting hurt. Parents also tend to be a little nervous. If you are, rest assured you are not alone! According to a poll by Schwinn, 55% of parents are nervous about teaching their child. In fact, they found that 36% wish they had someone else do it for them.
Is Your Child Ready?
The child should be more interested in learning how to ride than you are. It has been shown that kids who are pushed into an activity they are not ready for, it is an uphill battle and nobody wins.
Learn more in this article by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
The child’s maturity level comes into play as well. The understanding of safety and control/coordination needs to be present along with respect for vehicles, other riders, pedestrians, animals and other small children.
Start by Practicing on Balance
You can test your child’s balance capabilities prior to getting on a bike. Other risk taking activities like riding a scooter, gymnastics and ice-skating can give you an idea is your child can handle a bike.
Buy the Right Bike
If you are like me, when buying bikes for my kids, they are like shoes that they grow out of fast. Most parents buy a bike that is too big so they grow into it. This will make it difficult for the child to control.
Schwinn is an old company with experience in making great bikes. I have many Schwinn bikes over the years and I still love them. They have Smartstart bikes for young girls and boys. Click for details for the boy’s bike here. Click for details about girl’s bike here.
I have read the reviews on these bikes and most people are disappointed because they don’t have kick stands. Otherwise, it is a good durable and beautiful bike. Some people order and did not get the right color. If you order one, I would suggest calling to make sure you are getting the color your child wants.
Guidelines for Choosing the Right Size
You can measure your child for a bike using age, inseam and height. This is very important to keep your child safe and confident when learning to ride. See these charts for help: by inseam; by height; by age.
Find the Right Location
Choose a location where your child won’t be embarrassed or distracted by friends. While it is easy to do in your neighborhood or parks, this may cause a problem. You may want to consider teaching them in the next closest town to avoid the problem. On the other hand, if your child does not get embarrassed by other situations, doing this near home would be acceptable.
Teach Brakes First
Learning how to stop a bicycle is a crucial part of riding and the child should know this first. Show them how the brakes work. Also, teaching them how to quickly put both feet on the ground in a wide stance will give the child confidence with skills to minimize falls.
Take the Pedals Off
Taking the pedals off, will encourage your child to coast and put their feet on the ground for balance. You can do this in slow and small distances and increase each day. Once they have this skill mastered, they will soon be riding with pedals and no training wheels!
The key to this process is patience! Have fun with your child learning how to ride and soon you will be riding together.
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