How To Teach Your Child To Ride A Balance Bikes – 10 Top Tips

Teach your child how to ride a balance bike - 10 Top Tips

So, you have your balance bike but your child isn't able to ride it. Or maybe they’re not interested in riding it? How can you encourage them to get on and start riding. Here are some tips to get them on their bike.

1. Make sure the bike is adjusted so that they can ride it.

The first thing to make sure of is that they are able to ride the bike. Their feet should be flat on the ground so that they can use them to push the bike along, otherwise they will find it very difficult to ride.

When my son was growing, we thought the seat was too low so we adjusted it to be higher. He was suddenly struggling to get the speed on his bike he previously had. When we lowered the seat again, he was back to gliding along on his bike. The few centimeters we raised the bike, really affected how he could ride it.

The seat height of the bike should be about 1 inch less than your child’s inseam (the measurement between the top of their crotch and the floor with their shoes on). This will give them enough room to get on and off the bike as well as ride it. If the seat can't lower to this measurement it may mean the bike is slightly too big for them at the moment. You may need to wait until they have grown a bit or swap it for a bike with a lower seat height.

2. Become familiar with how kids learn to ride a balance bike

My son learned to ride a balance bike age 2 but it was a process that took a few weeks (maybe a couple of months). It started with him just standing with the bike in between his legs. Then he started to walk with the bike in between his legs. This walk became a little quicker. And eventually he got up enough speed to lift his legs up and start to glide. If your child is just standing with the bike in between his or her legs, he is learning to use it. They are just at the first step!

3. Consider letting them use the bike indoors

Before we used the bike outside, I let my son use the bike indoors. Again he would mainly just stand with it in between his legs and he would walk around a little. But looking back, I realise it was all part of getting a feel for the bike and learning how it worked. It all contributed to the learning process.

Learning to ride the bike indoors may feel like a safer option to your child. They’re in an environment which feels familiar and secure to learn a new skill.

4. Lots of Opportunities

Once they have a feel for the bike indoors or outdoors, give them lots of opportunities to be able to ride the bike. Take it outdoors everyday or every few days, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. Take it to the park or wherever you are going.

5. Be Patient

It probably took a few weeks, maybe even a couple of months before my son was confident on his bike. However, when he was 2 years and 4 months and whizzing around his bike, people around didn't see all the times, he was just standing there with it a few weeks before. It may look like other kids just hop on these things and use them and maybe they do, but my child certainly had a good period of learning to use his bike.

6. Show Them How To Use It

Kids learn by watching how others do things. So if they have a sibling or other child who can show them how to use a balance bike, this will help them be able to do the same. You could also consider showing them videos of kids using balance bikes on youtube so they can see how it works.

7. Is The Bike Too Heavy?

Another factor that may affect a child’s ability to ride the bike is the weight of the bike. Toddlers, small or light children may find it difficult to control and ride a heavy balance bike. So it’s worth looking at the weight of the bike you have and see if this is affecting their ability to ride. As kids get older and stronger the weight of the bike becomes less important and they are able to manoeuvre with a heavier bike. So it may just be a case of waiting until they are a little older and stronger and can use the bike more easily.

The lightest bikes you can get weigh about 3kg which should be easy for most toddlers (from around 18 months plus) and 2 year olds to ride as long as the seat height is low enough.

8. Make Sure It's Fun

This probably goes without saying but sometimes its easy to put pressure on a child to ride a bike quickly without even realising it. Learning to ride a balance bike should be fun at all times. If they are getting fed up, take a break and do something else and come back to it when they are ready.

9. Notice The Progress

It may seem frustrating when your child isn't whizzing along on his balance bike yet but notice the progress and see how far they come in a short space of time. Just standing with the bike between their legs means they are learning how to hold the bike and walking with it means they are learning how to handle it.

10. Go Out With Little Friends

Are there other kids near where you live who also have balance bikes? Could you have a little balance bike get together or an outing with the bikes where all the kids get to take their bike along. This can make riding the balance bike fun and give your little one an opportunity to see how other kids use their bikes.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

Balance Bikes for 5 Year Olds

Balance Bikes For 5 Year Olds



Buying a balance bike for a 5 year old can be difficult as many balance bikes tend to be aimed at the 3 to 5 age group and by age 5 there will be little growing room in the bike. Having said this, there are still quite a few options. A balance bike is a great for many 5 years olds. It cuts down the amount of time it takes to teach them how to ride a pedal bike as they learn the balance instinctively on a balance bike.If your 5 year old has siblings this can make the job of buying one a bit easier. As you could still buy a bike that is aimed at 3 to 5 year olds. Your 5 year old could use it enough so he or she is ready to transition onto a pedal bike. Then the balance bike could be passed onto a younger sibling so you still get the value from the bike.

The type of balance bike which would be suitable for a 5 year old will be dependant on the measurement of their inside leg. These measurements will make a big impact on whether to get a balance bike with 12 inch or 14 inch wheels.

The Most Important Thing You Need To Know




The most important thing is to consider their inseam (inside leg) measurement. You can measure a child’s inseam by measuring from the top of their crotch to the floor.  See picture for how to measure an inseam. The inseam is an important measurement as it will help you determine the seat height on the balance bike that your child needs. The seat height should be an inch (2.5cm) less than their inseam. It’s very important that the child’s feet can touch the floor flat on the ground so they can scoot along on their bike.

When looking at the seat height of the bike you are buying for your 5 year old, you want to make sure that you can adjust the seat height upwards from what your child currently needs. Generally look for a couple of inches (5cm) of growing room if you want the bike to last a while. This will make sure they can use the bike for a year or two.

​If you have a 5 year old on the smaller side it may also be worth checking out the balance bikes for 4 year old kids as this has some options with 12 inch wheels which may be suitable.

If they have an inside leg measurement of 52cm or more, it may be worth checking out the Strider 16 inch balance bike which is featured on our article on balance bikes for older children. There are also some other ideas of how you can get your child to learn to balance on a pedal bike without actually buying a balance bike.

✔️ Summary - It's important kids can put their feet flat on the floor when sitting on a balance bike in order to push the balance bike along. Determine the correct seat height for your child by taking off 2.5cm from their inseam (inside leg measurement). Example: An average 5 year old has an inside leg measurement of around 49cm. Take 2.5cm off this measurement and the minimum seat height for an average 5 year old will be 46.5cm. 5 year olds differ hugely in size, so take their measurement before making a purchase.

Make the Most of a Balance Bike For a 5 Year Old

The trouble with buying a balance bike for a 5 year old is that it might not be used for too long before they are ready for a pedal bike. (Although it is worth saying that many kids still like to ride their balance bike even after they can use a pedal bike, this is because they are so much fun.)
Here are some ways to keep the price down or make the most of the balance bike for a 5 year old

  • If the 5 year old has younger brothers and sisters it may be worth investing in a balance bike as once they have finished with it they can pass it onto siblings. Or you can have a bike that they take turns in using. If they are sharing with a sibling look for bike which has a seat height with a quick release clamp so it's easily adjustable.
  • Look for a used balance bike. Try ebay or other places to search locally.
  • Sell the balance bike once your child has finished using it.

Ridgeback Scoot XL Balance Bike (14 Inch)


Check Price

The Ridgeback Scoot XL balance bike is aimed at 4 to 8 year olds.

The bike comes in different colors (including bikes with pink and yellow seats) and has some  good features for older kids.

There aren't many balance bike with wheels which have 14 inches but this is one of them and will be the perfect size for many 5 years olds. It's an especially great compromise if you're not sure whether to go with a 12 or 16 inch balance bike.

Both the handlebars and seat adjust. The seat has a height adjustment from 40 to 55 cm.

Remember the seat height should be slightly less than their measurement of a child's inseam so that they can get on and off the bikes easily.

The handlebars adjust from 53 to 58cm. So you should be able to adjust the bike to suit your 5 year old child.

It weight 5.6 kg which should be fine for most kids this age to control and manoeuvre.

It also has pneumatic tyres which will give a bit more traction than other EVA foam or rubber tyres featured on other balance bikes.

✔️ Weight of bike - When buying a balance bike for a child, it's often recommended that the bike weighs no more than 1/3 of a child's weight as a lighter bike is easier for them to control. This guideline matters less as children get older, bigger and stronger. However a lightweight bike is still easier for them so it's something to bear in mind. Example: an average 5 year old weighs 18.1kg, so ideally a bike around 6kg or less is a good choice.

Weeride Balance Bike






The Weeride balance bike is a great option for 5 year olds with a higher seat height range than most of the balance bikes on the market.

The bike has a 14 inch frame and 14 inch wheels. The lowest seat height is 45cm and the hightest is 55cm.

It weighs 5kg so is lightweight making it easy to control for young children.

It has a rear band brake with easy touch brake lever. Although many kids will stop a balance bike with their feet, it's good to have the option of a brake to use. Using a brake will get them used to the idea for when the graduate onto a pedal bike.

The air filled tyres offer a smooth ride and good traction.

✔️ Brakes - Balance bikes for very young children don't tend to have brakes as young children find them difficult to use and they will instinctively use their feet instead. However, by age 5 most kids have the necessary co-ordination to use a brake and it's good for them to get used to when they transition onto a pedal bike. It saves scuffing their shoes too. However not all bikes have them, like the Early rider kids bike below but they're worth considering.

Early Rider




This is a lightweight bike that has a recommended age of 3 to 6 years old.

It has the lowest seat height range in this article of between 37.5cm and 47.5cm. The seat height required will be an inch less than a child's inseam. It's worth having a bit of growing room on the bike. So, if possible the maximum seat height should be a least a couple of inches more than the child's inseam to accommodate them for a little while.

The air filled tyres offer a smooth comfortable ride and will absorb the impact from any bumps along the road.

This bike is expensive but it's top quality, stylish and well built and will definitely last through siblings. So it could be a good investment to pass onto the next child in the family (if there is one).

The drop handlebars give the balance bike a grown up feel which could be good for a 5 year old.

Strider Bikes

Strider bikes have two options which could suit a 5 year olds. The first is the Strider Sport which is aimed at 18 months to 5 year olds. If you have a smaller 5 year old it could be worth choosing this option as they will probably be able to get quite a bit of use out of it. It could also be passed onto a younger sibling or cousin. Alternatively sell it on ebay to recoup some of the cost.

The other Strider bike is the 20 inch bike. This is aimed at the 6 to 10 age group but could be a good option for a taller 5 year old. Measure their inseam and check before purchasing.

Both bikes are featured below:

Strider Sport




The lowest seat height on the Strider is 28cm (11 inches). This extends all the way up to 49cm (19.5 inches). So the bike would be suitable for 5 year olds who have an inseam of 46.5 cm or less.

As the seat height goes so low it could also be a great bike for sharing with a younger brother or sister.

Strider bikes are excellent quality and built to last. They are one of the leading brands in the balance bike world so if the measurements are correct for the child in question, it's difficult to go wrong.

There is no brake. The bike is super lightweight at 2,9kg which makes it easy to control for little kids. It is also light to carry when you want to store it somewhere and they have had enough.

Strider 16 Inch Balance Bike



The lowest seat height on Strider 16 inch balance bike is 49.5cm so it would suit kids with an inseam of  The seat height goes up to 65cm so is likely to last 5 year olds for a very long time if they need it.

An advantage of the 16 inch balance bike over the Strider sport is that it has front and rear hand brakes. It's good if older kids can get used to using a hand brake rather than using their feet to stop. This will help when they transition onto a pedal bike. It will also save scuffing their shoes!

Another advantage of this bike is that it has pneumatic tyres. This means the bike is much better over different terrain. It offers a smoother ride for kids as well. As the weight of children increases, the rubber tyres which are fine for younger children cannot take the extra pressure of the weight of older kids so air filled tyres are better on balance bikes as kids get older.

Comparison

BikeTyresWheel SizeSeat HeightBrake WeightAge Range
Ridgeback ScootAir14 inch40-55cmRear Hand Brake3.6KG4-8
Wee RideAir14 inch45-55cmRear Hand Brake6.5kg3-5
Strider SportEVA12 inch29-49cmNone2.9kg3-5
Strider 16 inchAir16 inch49.5-65cmFront and rear hand brakes8kg6-10
Early RiderAir / Pneumatic14 inch38-47.5cmNone3.6kg3-6

Other Options

There are a range of balance bikes aimed at the 2 to 5 age group, which have adjustable seat height reaching quite high. The main thing about balance bikes is not to go by the age recommendation but go by the highest maximum seat height.

Many 5 year olds can still be accommodated by the bikes mentioned below if they are not too tall. It is very important that you measure their inseam (inside leg measurement). If their leg measurement is 2.5cm more than the maximum seat height they will still be able to use the bike, but there will be no growing room. Ideally you would want them to have a little bit of growing room so they can use the bike for a few months and get the balance right before moving onto a pedal bike.  If the bike can be passed down to a sibling, then you can be sure you will get some use out of the bike either way.

BikeSeat Height RangePrice Range

Radio Flyer Glide N Go
37 - 48cmMid Range

Cruzee Balance Bike
28-48cmTop of the Range

Puky 4033 balance bike
34-45cmTop of the Range