How to Teach a Kid to Ride a Bicycle

How to Teach a Kid to Ride a Bicycle
You love biking and you love your child, so it's only natural that you want to teach your kid to love biking. Learning to ride a bike is still a rite of passage for children in America, even in the virtual society in which we live today. The key thing to remember when teaching your kid to ride a bike is that the child will fall---therefore the best thing you can give them is the confidence to get back on and keep trying.


Difficulty: Moderate

Teaching a Kid to Ride a Bike

Step 1
Start the child off on a tricycle as early as possible. Developing a sense of balance is the most important part of learning to ride a bike, followed closely by developing confidence. The child needs to be as confident as possible that he or she won't get hurt; this confidence is more readily developed by going from a trike to a bike instead of straight to a bicycle.
Step 2
Attach training wheels to a bicycle to further improve balance as well as get the child used to the higher frame of the bike, but try to avoid letting the child become too dependent on the training wheels. Training wheels are best used to teach balance on a hard, flat surface like a driveway, sidewalk or parking lot. Putting a child on a bike with training wheels on an uneven, off-road surface can be more frightening than educational.
Step 3
By observing, determine when the child seems ready to try riding without the training wheels. Some kids will be too eager, and try before they are ready while others are more timid. It is your responsibility to know when the child seems ready to take the next step. Look for signs of confidence, but be sure not to give in to overconfidence when you know the child is not ready yet to take the next step.
Step 4
Running behind the child while he or she attempts to ride a bike without training wheels is a time-tested way to teach and remains the best method. Some advice may be necessary to achieve maximum results, however. The most efficient approach is to run behind while the child pedals, but do not hold on to the handlebars. Instead, begin by holding onto the child's shoulders very lightly so that you can quickly catch him or her when necessary. Gradually transition to holding the seat so that the child gains a better sense of accomplishment.
Step 5
Letting go is the key moment in this approach. In order to let go with a sense of confidence in yourself, make sure the bike is on a firm but grassy surface free from dangers like trees, bushes, cars or the house. Also make sure that when you do let go it is not in the presence of sudden hills or rough spots in the ground. Don't let the child know when you are letting go, and if possible, don't let him or her realize you have let go. If everything goes right, you may only need to let go that one time.

Article Written By Timothy Sexton

Timothy Sexton is an award-winning author who started writing in 1994. He has written on topics ranging from politics and golf to nutrition and travel, and his work appears online for, Disaboom and MOJO, among others. He has also done work for "Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of West Florida.

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