How to 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
As I said before 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!