Learning to ride a bike is scary for any child. Falling is often the biggest fear, and with good reason. Naturally, you need to help them learn to ride, but also minimize the risk of injury. A good rule of thumb is to avoid pushing them too far, too fast. As long as you gently guide them, they’ll be well on their way to riding a bike without your help.
1. Safety Gear
To keep your child safe, it’s important to buy the correct safety gear. There is a good chance your child will fall, so protecting their knees and head is smart. Buy a helmet that fits properly, and don’t skimp out because of growing pains. If a helmet is too large, it could block your child’s vision. To be safest, talk with a sales associate to find the helmet that best fits your child. Kneepads and gloves are also a good idea. Finally, make sure your child always wears shoes. Sandals or going barefoot should never be allowed.
2. Training Wheels
Before you do anything, place training wheels on the rear wheel of the bike. Training wheels are fairly simple to install, or you can have a local bike shop complete the task for you. Training wheels will help your child balance, and therefore feel safer. A bike can still tip over with training wheels though, so it is important to pick a flat surface free of obstacles before taking your child on his first ride.
Ask your child to sit on the bike seat. Hold the handlebar with one hand and place the other hand underneath the seat to keep it stable. Ask them to put his feet on the pedals and just sit like that for a moment until he is comfortable. If this is as far as you get the first day, that is perfectly fine! You don’t want to push your child before (s)he is ready. You can always come back the next day. Once (s)he feels comfortable sitting on the bike, have them start to pedal slowly , while holding on to the back seat (to keep the bike stable). After a few days of this, let go of the back seat and let him continue riding on his own.
Practice makes perfect, and your child will need from a few weeks to a few months of riding with the training wheels on before (s)he is able to ride without them. In the first few weeks, tell him/her to go slow and avoid curbs. Most children fall in their first attempt to navigate a curb, but as long as they stay on level ground, they should be fine.
Once the child has been riding for a few months, remove the training wheels. At this point, you will need to hold the back seat to help them stay balanced. Ask them to start pedaling and once they get going, let go of the back seat. If they have had enough practice, your child will continue to ride without the training wheels. To be safe, run with him at first to catch the bike, in case he begins to tip. When they begin to stop, tell them to put their feet on the ground and hold the handlebars to keep the bike from tipping over.
Camille Fields likes to write about family, green living & visiting www.flowerdelivery.net.
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