The wonderful thing about balance bikes is that they are specifically designed for young children. So, while you might have previously thought that your child would not be ready to attempt a bike with training wheels before the age of four or five, with a balance bike you can get the child started from as young as 18 months.
That being said, a child will not automatically know what to do with a balance bike at a very young age, so you will need to show him what to do. But chances are that you did not learn to cycle with a balance bike and so might not be familiar with the best approach. The following advice should help.
Choose the Right Bike
Before you even place your child on a balance bike, it is important to ensure that you have chosen the right one. Your child will find it much easier to get the hang of a balance bike if it is the right size. To determine this, you will need to measure your child’s inseam before matching it to the seat height of the bike (the minimum seat height should be a half to one inch lower than the inseam measurement). The experts at Woom explain that choosing the right kids bikes is very important as it will have an impact on how quickly and easily the child learns to cycle.
Introduce Your Child to the Balance Bike
Children aged between eighteen months and two years will probably need to be placed in a standing position over the frame of the bike. You can place their hands on the handlebars and stand behind them, showing them how to walk the bike between their legs. Don’t be surprised if your child resists this initially, especially if she is very young and not yet speaking. It is best to follow her lead and allow her to get used to the feel of the bike. She might be happy to walk the bike around and might not progress to sitting on the seat for a while. The more comfortable she gets walking the bike around, the quicker she will progress to sitting on the seat.
Take Your Child Outside
Children learn quickly by watching other children, so when your child is happily sitting on the seat and moving the bike with her feet, you could take her to a local park where there are other children cycling and having fun. As she watches the other kids, she will probably want to do what they are doing.
Provide a Safe Place to Ride
As your child gets more confident on the balance bike, she will quickly learn to run, sit, and balance before progressing to gliding. It is important therefore to ensure that your child has a large, safe area in which to run about on the balance bike. Open areas such as parks are best as you won’t have to worry about your child accidentally heading into the street on the bike. Trails or bike parks are also ideal places to practice and have fun.
Teaching a child to ride a balance bike is all about following their lead. Allow her to get used to the bike and show her how to sit on it. From there, her instincts are likely to take over when she is ready. She will probably begin by walking the bike around before she starts to sit and walk it. As she continues to practice, she will learn to run, balance, and glide. Remember, she is going to get faster as she becomes more confident, so make sure she always has a safe place to practice in.