Learning to ride a bike is practically a rite of passage as we grow up. For parents, it’s a great way to help your child get active and stay healthy. If you want to know how to teach a kid to ride a bike, Blain’s Farm & Fleet is here to help.
How to Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike
If you study how to teach a kid to ride a bike, you’ll find a lot of different methods. Most experts recommend the balance method as the quickest and best way to teach your child to ride.
The Balance Method: Ditch the Training Wheels
What you’ll need:
- A bike that fits your child (or, if you have one, a bike that’s a size smaller than they need)
- A bike helmet
- Comfy athletic shoes with short laces
- 15mm open end wrench
- A large grassy area (one with a gentle, downward slope is preferable, but not required)
1. Remove the pedals from the bike.
If they aren’t already marked right and left, then mark them first. Also, the old rule of “righty tighty, lefty loosey” is reversed for bike pedals. Adjust the seat of the bike so your child’s feet can touch flat on the ground when they are seated.
2. Push and coast.
Have your child push off with their feet or take small steps as they make their way down the slope toward you. Position yourself about 20 feet away at first. Encourage them to take fewer and fewer steps as you go along. Increase the distance they have to ride to you as they gain confidence.
3. Have your child start turning the handle bars of the bike as they glide toward you.
This will help them learn to steer and keep their balance when turning.
4. Teach them to use the brakes.
If the bike has coaster brakes (the kind where you have to pedal backwards to stop), you’ll need to put the pedals back on and do step 5 first. Show your child how to use the breaks, then have them glide toward you again and stop just short.
5. Put the pedals back on.
Now have your child push off and start pedaling. Give them pointers, like having one pedal in the high position to start with. As in step 2, have your child pedal toward you. Increase the distance as they get better at pedaling.
Cheer Your Child Along
Never stop encouraging them. Be positive. Clap and cheer even the little improvements. Downplay mistakes. Push your child to go further and challenge them to master bike riding. Many children learn to ride in 20 to 30 minutes with this method, but others may have to practice for a week or two. Once they do, make rules to keep them safe while they ride.