Abby has been on training wheels, and we think it’s time to transition her. Here are the quick basics of working on riding a bike with your kids.
1. Safety First - Always make sure your child has a helmet and knows how to put it on properly. Set limits on where they will be able to bike. Teach them the rules of the road. For starting out, find a place that is traffic free, obstacle free, flat and a smooth surface.
2. Teach them About Their Bike – Teach them about how their bike will operate, especially both methods for breaking (when applicable). Tell them some important instructions about how to keep their hands on the handle bars and their feet in proper position on the pedals.
3. Fit the Bike to Their Body – Make sure the bike seat is at the proper level. You want the height at a place where the child’s leg is almost straight when fully extended with the pedal. Make sure the tires are inflated.
4. Balance Bike – We don’t have one of these yet, but I have heard amazing things about the balance bike, and I think we’re going to pursue it. The balance bike is shorter and has no pedals, so they learn to coast and balance. I guess kids love them and are transitioning to a real bike much faster.
5. Train with a Hand on the Shoulder - The above pictures show the incorrect method (top) and the correct method (bottom). We were doing the top method before reading up on the subject. If you are holding the handle bars, your child will have a harder time learning to adjust, steer to create balance and attempt body balance. You will end up doing too much correcting for them. This way is better on your back too – bonus.
6. Don’t Push - Don’t push them too much. You want this to be an enjoyable, bonding experience so keep it light and fun. You’ll need to have patience. We have tried to instill patience, practice and perseverance, and bike riding is a great time to talk about that concept. Help them to trust you by not letting go too early and letting them fall. They will fall, but they need to be able to trust you throughout the practice.
For more detailed information: http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/teach-child-to-ride-a-bike.html