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Riding a Bike

Most children love the thought of being able to ride and have their own bike. Of course, the first step is to help you child master the skills of pedalling, steering and balancing.

 

Tricycles

 

The starting point would be to provide your child with a tricycle early on. This will develop their skills of steering and pedal control. Tricycles are beneficial for children from a young age, even before they are confidently walking.  Start off by selecting a small tricycle to develop your child’s confidence and skills initially. When purchasing the tricycle, it is advisable to purchase a helmet and be prepared for minor falls initially. Tricycles are aimed primarily at young children, and are not suitable for older children who are stronger and capable of speeds which are unsafe on some surfaces (remember, unlike a bike, tricycles have no breaks!)

 

Tip With a very young child and if a suitably soft surface is not available, it would be safest to use the tricycle indoors initially.

 

To begin with let your child explore their new tricycle. They may seem contented with pushing the tricycle and becoming familiar with the steering aspect. When the child is confident with steering, they can start exploring the pedals and how these work alongside the steering. Some children may quickly master the art of pedalling and steering and be able to ride a tricycle even before they start walking independently.

 

Once your child is confident with a tricycle, they are then ready to move on to a small bicycle. If your child attends a nursery or playgroup, opportunities to develop these skills are likely to be offered. Your child will have the chance to use a range of tricycles and explore the motion of pushing and pedalling.

 

Riding a Bike

 

Once you have selected and appropriate sized bicycle for your child’s age and height, it is advisable that they begin with stabilizers also known as training wheels. This helps your child to develop their balance and become confident with the new features of a bicycle. You will find that the majority of children’s bicycles come with stabilizers attached.

 

To begin with your child will need a Helmet and Pads Set! Ideally, it would be easiest for your child to practise on a flat path or safe flat driveway where there is no traffic or hazards. When using a bicycle with stabilizers a child will need supervision to ensure they remain at a safe speed, as often the bike can easily topple over if a child turns a corner too fast, and weight is transferred from the back wheel to the training wheel, which is significantly smaller.  It is essential that stabilisers are fitted correctly and are in good working order. Check your child’s bicycle frequently, to check everything is safe and working effectively.

 

As your child becomes more confident with balancing, steering, breaking and pedalling, the stabilisers can be raised slightly. Sometimes, especially if your child is anxious about having the stabilisers removed, it may be best to adjust them without telling your child! This will allow your child to slowly improve their balance without feeling anxious or losing confidence. As your child learns to balance and improves their control of the bike, the stabilisers can be raised again, until eventually; there is not need for them.

 

When the child is confident to try riding without stabilisers, it is essential that they are supervised closely and offered support and encouragement. The use of stabilisers works well as it allows children to practise and develop skills more independently, especially if they live in a quiet cul-de sac or have a large flat garden.

 

Image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

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