Teaching your child to ride a bike is so important. It takes patience, but once your child grasps how to ride a pedal bike, the real adventure starts. I have three children, 2 girls and boy. They have all learned to ride a bike without stabilisers by the age of three. My middle child was reluctant to ride a bike and needed a little more encouragement but it still didn’t take her long and once she could, she was so proud of her new skill.
Here are the best tips to teach your child to ride a bike without stabilisers the best way.
1 – Start with a Balance Bike.
The first simple steps in teaching your child to ride a bike without stabilisers is by using balance bike. We have used a balance bike with all of our children, the same one actually. It cost us £30 and was without a doubt the best thing we have ever bought. It is basically a bike without pedals. Some people are completely baffled by them but they work. It really helps your child to find their balance. First of all your child will just sit on the sit and walk with it. Gradually they will start to life their feet and before long the will be whizzing around feet up. The balance bike will help with your child’s coordination and their confidence before starting on a regular bike. If you want your child to learn to ride a bike without stabilisers find a flat surface with some soft grass (to ensure a soft landing) and experiment with a balance bike.
2 – Perseverance
The most important step is perseverance and patience. No child will ever be able to get on a bike and start riding it and so the early stages can be hard going for young children. Even with a balance bike they will have no idea what to do and it can take a long time. It takes a lot of perseverance and a lot of encouragement. It is so much easier to give up and think that they aren’t ready. Don’t – stick with it. Anyone at any age can learn to ride a bike, it just takes a little time. My girls took to the balance bike quite easily. With Alfie it took longer. Thanks to lockdown we had a little more time to encourage him and practice more. In the end all 3 children loved the balance bike.
3 – Let them choose a new bike
This might not always be possible but, if you can, take your child to a bike shop and let your child choose their first bike. The type of bike can really encourage a child to want to learn to ride it. Younger children love choosing a character bike in their favourite colour. The more the love the bike the easier it will be for you to get them on it. There are so many amazing and fun kids bikes to choose from that your new rider will be so excited to get going on it. Don’t forget a bike helmet. Again something else that your child can help choosing.
4 – Remove Stabilisers Straight Away.
A little controversial maybe but when making the transition from balance bike to riding a bike make sure you take the stabilisers (or training wheels) off. The whole purpose of the balance bike is to help your child learn to balance. You have already done the hard work by helping them keep their balance. Stabilisers are not needed. In fact they can make the whole process even harder. When my eldest child started a bike we thought we would leave the stabilisers on to give her the opportunity to get her head around using the pedals. It actually made riding the bike harder as it was more wobbly, she fell and it really knocked her confidence. With Harri and Alfie the stabilisers came right off and with a little help it was easier. If you have a Go Kart or Trike with pedals this can be a easy way to get used to Child pedals so encourage your child to use these. However if not they will learn to pedal in no time, the balance is the hard thing.
5 – Practice using Pedals.
Learning to use pedals can take a little bit of practice especially when your child first starts riding a bike. If you can, encourage your child to start using pedals before they get on the bike. A trike or a Go Kart is a great way to do this.
6 – Encourage Older Kids or Family Members to help.
Once Alfie got used to his balance bike he loved it and was whizzing around. He was happy to try to move onto a big bike but after just going a short distance he would get bored. The breakthrough moment for us was when his sisters were on their scooters and he desperately wanted to keep up with them. (Notice the girls would have been too fast on their bikes for him to keep up with which is why scooters worked perfectly).
Now he loves riding his bike and he is so good at it he absolutely loves going on bike rides. He has wobbly moments mainly when he is busy looking around but he is only three!! If you don’t have older children that can help get on a bike yourself. We also have an adult scooter and he loves trying to keep up with Mummy or Daddy.