If you work in child care, you'll be keen to find fun outdoor activities for your little ones to do during the summer months. Cycling is an extremely popular pastime, and if the child has natural balance and reasonable co-ordination, the art of bike riding can be mastered in as little as half an hour. Here's how to teach a child to ride a bike.
Teaching a child to ride a bike
First of all, stand your child beside their bike. Now get them to walk along with the bike, practising applying both brakes as they go. This is very important as it helps the child feel that they have control, which builds confidence.
Now drop the saddle down and remove the pedals. This makes the bike more like a scooter and is a really important second step. The child can happily learn the basics without fear of losing control or wobbling. They can use leverage to propel themselves along and should be encouraged to try to keep their feet off the ground for as long as they can manage. Most kids will quickly realise that the bike won't fall over when they're moving, and the whole idea just clicks into place.
When the child has worked out the scooting technique and can manage a fair distance without putting a foot down, put one pedal back on. The right pedal usually works best if the child is right handed and vice versa.
Carry on scooting, but this time the child has a prompt as to where to place their foot. Now it's time to practice scooting for longer distances as their confidence grows.
With both pedals back on the bike, it's time to start pedalling for real. Support the child by holding their back or shoulder and walk beside them as they start off. It can be helpful to utilise gravity by picking a slightly downhill slope. After a little practice, the child will be able to pedal along under their own steam. Make sure you remind the beginner to stop and start frequently so that they don't forget how to use their brakes.
There are two schools of thought on stabilisers. One is that stabilisers are not helpful because they make the child feel that they can just sit on the bike without having to balance themselves, which can prevent the child from getting a feel for riding a bike properly. On the other hand, stabilisers are good for giving confidence and building up pedalling strength which they won't do through scooting.
It can be helpful to use stabilisers at first for kids who don't have a good sense of balance or who are afraid to take both feet off of the ground.
Bike riding is great fun for kids of all ages. Follow the tips above to teach the kids in your care how to enjoy this healthy, outdoor activity.