An Easy 10 Step Guide to Teach Your Kid How to Ride a Bike
I remember stressing what it would be like to teach my kids how to ride a bike. But it wasn’t so bad and I really enjoyed helping my kids learn.
That’s why I created a step-by-step guide for you to use so you too can teach your kid how to ride a bike and instill confidence in them too!
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Table of Contents
1. Buy a balance bike for your toddler
I had never heard of a balance bike before I had kids. Then, my co-worker told me all about the balance bike when my kids were just learning how to walk. We bought our kids balance bikes when they were around two years old. It’s still one of the best purchases we made.
What is a balance bike?
A balance bike is a smaller bike, but with no pedals or training wheels. The idea behind this bike is that your toddler learns how to balance on a bike first, before introducing the pedals and training wheels.
The wheels are thick enough to balance on its own. No training wheels are needed! Your kid will choose to straddle it and walk with it at first. Once they feel comfortable, they will sit and scoot their way down a sidewalk until they are gliding down a trail on their own!
Balance bike recommendations
We bought the Velo Junior Toddler Balance Bike when they were two. It was a perfect bike to start with. Highly recommend.
As they got more comfortable with that bike, we transitioned them to the Strider Balance Bike. It is a smooth ride and a little bigger. It fits them nicely and it was an easy transition.
2. Let your child practice using their balance bike
There is a learning curve anytime you teach a child how to ride a bike. It is no different with the balance bike.
Give your child plenty of time to practice using their balance bike and getting comfortable with how it works. This makes for a great summer activity!
My kids used their balance bikes for a good two years before moving to a bike with pedals and training wheels!
3. Practice on a paved trail or an empty parking lot
Give your child plenty of room to practice using their bike.
I actually avoid sidewalks with my kids when I am teaching them how to ride a bike. The uneven surfaces can make it difficult to get good practice.
Find a paved trail or you can even use a big empty parking lot. Be safe and make sure your child has a helmet on too!
4. When the time is right, buy a small bike with training wheels
This is a big step for your child. Not only do they have training wheels to adjust to, but now they have pedals that they need to use.
After you have put in that work to teach your child how to use a balance bike, the training starts over.
Or so it seems.
But stay patient.
There are many different bikes to choose from out there. Get one that your child will LOVE.
5. Offer encouragement and praise
It is so important that we encourage our kids when they are trying something new.
Be encouraging as they learn how to ride a bike. When they fall, help them back up and encourage them to keep going.
This will go a long way in building confidence early in their biking journey.
6. When your child is ready, take the training wheels off
One day, my kids rode their pedal bikes to the park and I brought a srewdriver.
Before we left the park to head home, I asked if they wanted to take turns with no training wheels. They were so excited. I knew it was time.
Every kid is different. You don’t have to rush them if they don’t feel ready.
Your child will let you know when they are ready. And when they are ready, have that screwdriver handy so you can take those training wheels off in a jiffy!
7. Stay with your child early on
Remember, your job is to coach and encourage your kids as they learn how to ride a bike.
It’s a scary feeling when those training wheels come off.
Stay with your child early and often as they learn how to pedal and balance at the same time.
Be patient. Let your child practice. It’s okay if they make mistakes. You will be right there with them through the process to help them along.
8. Place your hand on your child’s back as they learn how to pedal
This really helped my kids as they learned how to ride bike.
Kids have trouble trying to figure out how to get started. I place my hand on their back and give them a small boost, as they find the pedals and start finding their balance.
But keep your hand on their back.
This will take many attempts. They will get scared. Having you right beside them with your hand on their back will give them a boost of confidence and comfort.
Do this many times over and over and you will see their confidence and skill set soar over time!
9. Gradually remove your hand as they get more comfortable
As they begin to get more comfortable with starting, pedaling, balancing and stopping, you can slowly begin to remove your hand from their back.
I am still right there with them. But my hand is several inches away.
It’s showing them that THEY CAN DO THIS! Again, there is another boost of confidence!
10. Run alongside your child as they learn how to ride a bike
As you can guess, I do not stand back and watch from afar.
I am right next to my child the entire process as they learn how to ride a bike.
My kids loved knowing I was running right next to them cheering them on and offering encouragement and praise (See #5).
Now that my kids know how to ride a bike, I don’t run alongside them anymore. They are too fast!
But during those practice rounds, be present and alert!