A recent question from a reader about local bike safety classes for kids got me thinking that I should share how we taught our older son how to ride. I got this tip from another mom (where all good ideas come from IMO) and it worked surprisingly well. It’s safe, easy, and doesn’t involve skinned knees or you constantly running while they peddle!
|A little pep talk walking back up the hill|
1. Remove the training wheels and lower the bike seat so your child can easily touch the ground with both feet flat or close to flat.
2. Remove the pedals. They just twist off, but you might need a wrench to get the process started.
3. Go someplace with a gentle slope of a hill. Take your child to the top and let them glide down the hill with their feet up off the ground. The goal is to get to the point where they are not touching the ground with their feet at all, but this will take some practice. They are learning how to balance and will need to use their feet occasionally to stop from falling over. Once they are at the bottom of the hill they should walk their bike back to the top. You can do this on pavement or even on grass. Keep doing this until they have completely mastered this skill. This will take several outings.
4. Once they have mastered balancing, put the pedals back on and raise the seat up a little. You want to have the seat high enough that they can comfortably pedal, but low enough that they can still easily get their feet on the ground if necessary. Go to a level surface or gently slope and watch them go! If it’s flat you’ll need to help them get started, but once they are up it’s all good! Obviously lessons on stopping and turning will also be necessary. Once they have completely mastered pedaling you can raise the seat up to a proper height.
Have fun, be patient and celebrate when they’ve got it. A big milestone!