Your toddler is now two years old and you want to get her to ride a balance bike just like all the neighbourhood children. But before you plunge right into buying any balance bike make sure you get one that has a brake lever a childas young as yours can handle. In your interest it would be a good idea to buy a balance bike that is not too heavy because when the child is at the learning stage you’ll end up carrying it more than she is going to ride it. Buy a balance bike that is recommended for first time learners, preferably with limiting steering on the front wheel as that helps to teach balance.
Don’t force the child!
Get your child a balance bike but don’t force her to ride it. Let it just be like one of her toys that she plays with when the mood takes her. Make sure you have a sturdy one and just the right size for a year on because she may not be actually riding the bike till she is a year older. It could take that long for her to gain the confidence to sit on the saddle. An experienced mother’s good advice is not to go in for the foam filled tyres as they are not going to last long- and if your child has begun enjoying the ride you’ll just have to get her another one, which actually doubles the expense.
Learning how to ride a bicycle could be a bit daunting for a small little child even though she can see other kids in the park riding. If she is timid then don’t take her to the park where other children could tease her. She will never get on to that bike. Instead help her to learn at home at her own pace and under your supervision. You need to explain to her how the bicycle works by showing her how the brake works. Let her sit on the seat when the bike is stationery and you are holding her. After a while stop holding her and let her see how she won’t fall off because she can always place her feet on the ground. Let her ride sort distances at home with your help and after a while when she realises it’s safe she will do it on her own and love it when she sees she has learnt a new skill.
Encourage the child
Another way you can teach your child how to ride a balance bike is by taking the bike along to day care while you walk along beside her. It does not matter whether she rides the bike or walks it but the trick is to let her get used to the idea.This could mean you have to carry or walk the bike home so do itonly if the day-care is close at hand.On the way to day-care she will encounter other children who will be riding their bikes and you can be sure that sooner than later she will give a nod when you ask her if she would like to try riding her balance bike. Watching other children can be helpful and encouraging but make sure she doesn’t fall off as that could embarrass her in front of the others. So be alert and ready to catch her and the bike in case you see this happening.
If your child shows an eagerness to learn how to ride her balance bike then don’t put her off because you are too busy doing something else. Once the bike is at home explain to her that you will teach her how to ride after lunch, in the evening etc. so she knows she can’t pester you the whole day. Also remember that if she does not learn quickly enough she could abandon the bike altogether. So make sure to encourage her even if she merely sits on the bike. Give her a little push but hold on to her if you find she is uncomfortable. Most parents hold the child for a while and loosen their grip after a while and then stop holding them altogether but walk behind the bike so the child knows you are still there even if she is riding on her own.
Allow her to practice
As the saying goes practice makes perfect so devote at least half an hour to help your child balance and ride. Make sure that when you begin you have taken all the safety precautions like helmets, pads etc. and have located a safe place to teach her in. Once children feel they are safe and not likely to get injured they will be more willing learners. If you persevere along with your child then she is bound to learn quickly enough with everyday practice. Soon you will see the progress from holding, letting go, to holding again till one day they will be riding and you will be watching with delight. Sometimes it’s a good idea to just place them on the balance bike and give them a push so they get used to the movement immediately and balance instinctively. Know your child’s temperament before you do that as you don’t want to frighten them.
If your child has an older sibling who already rides a bike then all of you can take your bikes out together. This encourages the child to do what the other family members are doing. If she has learnt balance then you can slow down so she can keep up with you.Families that ride out together in safe places and grassy hills encourage the young ones to pick up the skill too as they would like to be just like everyone else.