Children usually learn to ride a bike between the ages of 3-8. It’s one of the best outdoor activities for kids. It provides lots of fun and increases the bond between parents and children as well as siblings and friends. Nevertheless, there are injuries associated with kids riding a bike. According to a review of studies, injuries were higher in kids who started riding at age 3 to 5, while children age 6 or 7 have lower rates of injuries. Therefore, knowing when your child should learn how to ride a bike is crucial.
Before we proceed, parents need to have a clear understanding on styles and features of bicycles to know which suits their child because they are divided into categories. In addition, parents need to understand the ways at which kids can learn to ride a bike, the age factor, learning method, and how to ensure safety.
Training wheels vs. tricycles
Training wheels are additional wheels fitted to a two-wheel bicycle, meant for providing balance and preventing falls. Training wheels are usually removable once the child is old enough to learn to balance. It is often fitted for kids between ages 1 to 3. Keep in mind that a 2-year-old child with training wheels will tilt to one side, and there won’t be enough balancing.
On the other hand, a tricycle is a bike with three wheels (i.e., one at the front and two behind). Tricycle wheels are usually permanent. Children basically learn the pedaling, steering, and braking on a tricycle or “big wheel” cycle or bicycles fitted with training wheels. Once they grow older, they can learn fully balancing on a two-wheel bike. Picking between training wheels or tricycles basically comes down to personal preference or what you had as a kid; no one is better than the other.
Learning to ride a bike
There are various methods available for your child to learn how to ride a bike. These methods include taking the pedals off a bike and lowering the seat to have the bike act as a balance bike. You can also make use of a bicycle with training wheels. Raising the training wheels a little at a time has proved to be a good method for learning to ride a bike. When it comes to training wheels, you may decide to teach your child how to ride without them. First, make sure they want to learn without training wheels. As a parent, you can’t want it for them because if you do, expect frustrations.
Moving forward, get the smallest bike you can get because the smaller the bike, the closer they get to the ground and easier it will be for them to control the bike. Healthychildren.org says that oversize bicycles are dangerous for children. Remove the pedals from the bike, find a long, gentle hill, teach them to turn with the pedals off, then after balancing, teach them to turn with the pedals on and how to use the brake.
Counter-steering is another great way to learn how to ride a bike — i.e., tell your child to turn in the direction that the bike is falling in order to straighten it out.
Kids’ bike: They are designed specifically for kids. Every aspect of the bike is scaled down to be age-appropriate for a child. Kids 4-5 years of age are considered to have sufficient balance and coordination.
Children and bike riding
To fully break down the appropriate time when your child should learn how to ride a bike, factor in their age and/or condition:
- Children who cannot walk without support are not advised to use a bicycle. Balancing the rotational speed of the bike’s wheel and propulsion are basically the factors that determine the age for learning to ride a bike.
- Some 3-4 years old kids are able to ride a small bicycle with training wheels and improve to riding without training wheels. Kids within this age are advised to use a foot brake, since they are not yet able to use the hand brake.
- Most 5-year-olds have the capability to ride a bicycle with or without training wheels. Most children are ready to ride a bicycle by the time they are 5, according to the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Most 6-year-old kids are physically able to ride without training wheels. Their age and growth have developed to avoid dangers. In addition, they are capable of using hand brakes.
Safety measures must be adhered to while learning how to ride. Teach your child to wear a helmet properly and be sure to wear one yourself as an example. Traffic safety is extremely important. Finding the best paths and bike lanes that separate your child from traffic is crucial. Teach traffic awareness to your child. And be sure your child wears reflective clothing with bright colors when riding a bike.
In conclusion, balancing and coordination are the most important factors to consider before teaching your child how to ride a bike.
- 8 indoor exercise ideas to keep kids from bouncing off the walls this winter
- Kegel exercises after birth are crucial: How to do them correctly
- Why toddler gymnastics classes are a great activity for 3-year-olds
- 5 reasons you’ll never regret enrolling your kid in karate
- Why physical activity is so important for child development