5 questions YOU should answer before teaching your child to ride a bike
Teaching your child to ride a bike is one of those parenting (or grandparenting) milestones.
Perhaps you’ve envisaged a fun filled hour as you explain clearly and concisely how to start pedalling as your child nods eagerly before you put a gentle hand on the back of their saddle, give a little push and watch them ride off into the sunset.
If that’s happened to you, then well done! But for the rest of us it doesn’t usually work out like that.
Cycle Sprog is here to help make the process of teaching your child to ride a bike as easy as possible.
But before you even start thinking about whether it’s time to teach your child to ride a bike, here are a few things to think about first.
They are all to do with you, and your preparedness for the task ahead – are you ready to be brutally honest with yourself?
Q1: Why do you want to teach them to ride a bike now and how does that make you feel?
It’s worth taking a moment to explore your motivation for teaching your child to ride a bike.
- Are you rushing to tick off a developmental milestone?
- Do you want to prove your child is as advanced as someone else you know?
- Are you worried about them “failing” or not learning quickly enough?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, please do think about whether now is the right time to teach your child. You need to teach them when they’re ready, and it will take as long as it takes.
- Are you excited about teaching your child to learn to ride a bike?
- Are you looking forward to heading out on bike rides together?
- Is passing on your love of cycling to your offspring something that you’re looking forward to?
Do be careful that your enthusiasm to get your child pedalling is realistic. If your child isn’t ready to pedal they won’t be able to pedal – which will be frustrating for everyone involved.
Make sure you’re looking forward to teaching your child for the right reasons, at the right time, and it will become a lot more fun!
Q2: Do you have the time to dedicate to teaching your child to ride a bike?
Learning to pedal a bike is a skill. And like any skill it takes time to master. Some children pick it up faster than others, but even those who start to pedal quickly need to practice their newfound skill.
We all live busy lives but teaching your child to ride a bike isn’t something you can just squeeze into an empty slot in your diary.
If life is particularly hectic at the moment and you can only fit in one half hour session on the bike in the next three weeks, now may not be the best time to start teaching your child to ride their bike.
Wait until you’ve got the time available to teach them and allow them to practice.
Q3: Is your child ready to learn to ride a bike?
Just because their best friend, or the child down the road, has started to pedal, it doesn’t mean your child is going to be ready to learn to ride.
They need have the physical and mental maturity to ride a bike and follow instructions and stay safe once they’re moving at speed.
Generally, these things happen when a child is about 4 years old, but every child is different, and some can start pedalling earlier whilst others aren’t ready until much later.
Check out our article What’s the best age to teach a child to ride a bike? for more information.
Q4: Do you know how to teach your child how to ride a bike?
Have you researched whether training wheels/stabilisers are a good idea for your child (check out our article Does my child need stabilisers/training wheels? if you haven’t)
Have you watched videos about how to teach your child to ride a bike?
Have you identified the best place to teach them to ride their bike?
Remember the mantra – preparation, preparation, preparation.
The more preparation you do before starting to teach your child to ride a bike, the more successful you’re likely to be, either in teaching your child how to learn to ride - or quite possibly - in identifying that today isn’t the day it’s going to happen, and moving on to something else.
q5: Have you prepared them with the skills and equipment they need before they start pedalling?
Many parents make the mistake of thinking their child can go from zero experience or knowledge of bikes and cycling to a fully-fledged cyclist in a matter of minutes!
This rarely works – your child needs to gain experience, awareness and understanding of bikes and cycling before you try and teach them to cycle.
There’s a number of things to consider from whether they’ve learnt the balancing skills needed, through having a correctly sized bike and wearing the correct shoes, which we cover off in the article “Avoid these mistakes when teaching your child to ride a bike”.
We hope these questions have helped you decide whether now is the correct time to start to teach your child to ride a bike.
Do drop us a comment in the box below to let us know how you’re getting on.
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Other articles you might be interested in:
- Help! Why doesn't my child want to ride their bike?
- What's the best age to teach a child to ride a bike?
- Choosing the best balance bike for your child
- Big balance bikes for taller children
- Easy mistakes to make when measuring your child for their new bike
- How to measure your child's head for a bike helmet
- How to easily measure your child for a new bike
- How does the Bike Club work?
- Avoid these mistakes when teaching your child to ride their bike