Teaching Your Child to Ride a Bike: The Basics – Parenting Prattle


Teaching your child to ride a bike is an iconic image of parenthood. Like crying at their graduation, walking your daughter down the aisle, and waiting nervously to pick them up from their first day of school, it is a memory that you’ll treasure forever.

Of course, that doesn’t actually make it any easier to do! If you’re getting ready to teach this important skill to your little ones then you might want to check out this articles on teaching your child to ride a bike. We’ve summarised the basics below to help you through this important event.

Starting out

There are lots of different techniques to get kids started on two wheels. You should choose the one that is best for you and your child. If your first technique doesn’t seem to be working then there is no harm in switching to another.

  • Stabilisers

Many parents advocate the use of stabilisers or training wheels. These are small wheels attached to either side of the back wheel that keep the bike stable. Kids generally ride well with stabilisers and the biggest advantage is giving them an idea of what it’s like to cycle independently. Once they have got the hang of bikes with stabilisers, it’s time to take them off and work on their balance.

  • Training bikes

An alternative approach is to use a training bike without pedals or a small child’s bike that lets them put their feet on the ground easily. Either approach means the child will be able to practice balancing on the bicycle while propelling themselves along with two feet on the floor. After a while they’ll naturally try lifting their feet off and balancing while the bike is in motion. This may lead to a few falls, but little by little they’ll manage to balance for longer until they are ready to try a full-sized bike.

Independent riding

Once your child is comfortable with the basics, it’s time to start working towards independent riding.

Start by getting them comfortable on the bike – adjust the height of the seat if you can. Next, help them by steadying the bike from behind while they pedal. Holding the back of the seat or the handlebars works well and allows you to let go when they’re pedaling confidently.

After this, you’ll need to teach your child how to push off. This should develop gradually and you may be needed to give them a little running start for a little while while they develop their skills.

Safety when teaching your child to ride a bike

Children learn many things by trial and error, and riding a bike is no different. They’re likely to fall off a few times so cover sensitive body parts like knees and hands and buy them a well-fitting helmet.

Kids love cycling and can enjoy a range of fun summer holiday activities once they’ve learned how to. Teaching your child to ride a bike is one of the most gratifying aspects of parenthood and although it might involve a little hard-work, it will all be worth it in the end. Good luck and happy cycling!

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