Teaching Toddlers To Ride A Bike

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Learning to ride a bike is a fun milestone for kids. We have the tips you need to help your toddler succeed!

toddler on a bike with a helmet

Biking is a great family activity that is fun for all ages and gives everyone exercise. It is an activity that gets kids outdoors and is a skill that they can use for life!

What Age Should My Child Be Able to Ride a Bike?

Kids usually learn to ride a bike between the ages of 3 and 8, and the average age just over 5. There are a lot of different developmental factors that will influence when your child is ready to learn, or is able to ride a bike on their own.

  • Mental and Physical Development. Can your child respond to directions? Is your child able to pedal? If the answer is no, then it is a good idea to wait to teach them.
  • Coordination. Riding a bike requires balance and coordination. As kids grow, they develop both of these skills and so determining if they are old enough to balance a bike while steering and pedaling is important.
  • Interest. You might be super excited for you child to ride a bike, but are they? If they don’t show any interest, or are really nervous and scared about it, then it might be a bit too soon.
  • Influence. Older siblings, friends and neighbors might already be riding bikes and that can have a big influence on when your child wants to learn to start riding.

Top Tips for Teaching Your Toddler to Ride a Bike

  1. Make sure the bike is an appropriate size for the child.  Make sure they can stand over the top tube with both feet on the ground. If they can’t put their feet down, it’s too big. A slightly smaller bike is better for kids to learn on because it will be much easier for them to handle and control.
  2. Adjust training wheels so they are not touching the ground.  To learn balance, children should have to lean a bit each way before the training wheels come into play.
  3. Once your child becomes better at balancing, keep moving training wheels up until they aren’t using them at all (even though they might still be attached to the bike)
  4. Push starts:  If you are running with a child to help him learn to ride, hold lightly by his shoulders, rather than holding onto the bike.
  5. Push start on a very slight decline, like your driveway.  This helps the child get a bit of momentum.
  6. Even when you are doing everything correctly, some kids are just stubborn! My niece would not learn how to ride for my sister, yet as soon as a babysitter came over and assumed she already knew how to do it, she took off!  The power struggle had ended.

Balance Bike: New Method To Learning To Ride Bikes

Balance bikes have no pedals at all.  Kids use their feet to push forward and learn balance and steering.  It’s a great way to teach toddlers how to steer, learn balance, and learn control. It simplifies the process for younger kids because they don’t have to think about pedaling. Balance bikes are intended for kids ages 2-5.

Top Balance Bikes on Amazon:

Strider Bike: This brand is definitely top of the line. The seat and handlebars adjust so that it can grow with your child. This bike is designed for kids ages 18 months – 5 years and so it can last a long time!

Retrospec: This bike has a lower price point than Strider, but has amazing reviews. This bike also has adjustable handlebars and seat and is designed for kids ages 20 months – 5 years. It comes in lots of different colors and has a fun design.

Joystart: This bike has the lowest price point of the 3 bikes. It also gets great reviews. A cool thing about this bike is that it has a footrest and so kids can coast which helps them find their center of gravity. It also has adjustable handlebars and seat and is designed for kids ages 1-3.

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Bike Safety

Teaching your child to be safe while riding a bike is just as important as teaching them to ride a bike. Your child should wear a bike helmet every time they ride. These are some tips for finding a helmet that fits:

  • The helmet should sit level across the middle of their forehead. The helmet should be fairly secure. You shouldn’t be able to push it very much side to side or front to back.
  • The side straps should form a ‘V’ and lay under each ear.
  • The chin strap should be secure under your child’s chin so that the helmet doesn’t move back and forth very much at all.
  • This is a great article for finding a helmet that fits.

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162 Comments

I’d love to win! My three year old is ready to learn. We removed the pedals on a regular
12 inch bike for the older two, but the bike is heavier.

My 3 year old would love this bike. And it looks like such a great way to teach him how to ride. Thanks for posting your teaching tips.

My son is turning 3 in October, this would be the perfect gift for him, as he loves to be outside on his trike & is FASCINATED when bigger kids zoom by on their bikes.

I saw something similar in Canada and thought it was an awesome idea! I would love to win one for my two youngest boys (4 and 2). Also, thanks for all the tips! My 6 yr old is still learning to ride w/out training wheels.

I’d love to win a new bike for my son! He is almost 6 and still can’t ride without training wheels (I think his bike is too big for him)! Using a balance bike would be a quick and easy way to teach him how to balance before trying to tame the difficult skill of riding! Genius!

I would love to win this bike! My son is 20 months and I’ve been told by another Mom that her son started using his balance bike just after his 2nd birthday. My son is tall and has been walking/running for a long time, so he might be able to use it even sooner than that. I love the idea of the balance bike!

My 3 yr old loves to ride the tricycle they have at our church playground. I think she is ready to have one of her own 🙂

We really really could use this bike, I have a six year old that can’t ride, a four year old that never tried and a almost two year old….so we have plenty of need and want for an item like this!

I added a balance bike to my son’s Amazon “wish list” a few weeks ago. We first saw one at his friend’s house and he just loved it.

My two-year-old almost got hit by a truck because he wanted to follow his older brothers and couldn’t steer well enough to stay in the driveway. I could use a bike like this!

My three year old is being so stubborn and won’t pedal. First, she keeps pushing back on the pedals to make them break and then she struggles pushing the pedals over the heighest part. this would be perfect.

I’d LOVE to win this for my son who will be 3 next month. On the “gifts to get him” list is a bike with training wheels, but if we won this, it would be amazing and would probably be best to start learning on since we have a rock/gravel driveway and it’d be nearly impossible for him to learn to ride a bike on crazy street.

I desperately need one of these for my Toddler. He recently received a small bike with training wheels for his birthday and he just cannot figure out those pesky pedals!

I love your blog and I have to say this giveaway is one of the greatest ever! My daughter would seriously benefit from a bike like this.

My child is 2.5 years and picking up other kids balance bikes at the park and around the neighborhood to try them out. We NEED to get him one soon before he steals one. We would love to win!

Spencer would love this bike. He tries to do that concept with is tricycle but is always banging his shins against the pedals. At this point he has no interest in actually pedaling, so this bike would be awesome for him!!

I want one of these so bad! We are in the middle of teaching our 6 year old( I know late in the game) and our almost 4 year old…it is challenging.

I have never heard of a balance bike, and do believe it is a most genius idea. My daughter will be 2 in October, and I can’t wait until next year (spring/summer) when she will get to go riding with the rest of the family. This bike will help get her on her way.

I want one! we used one for my older two sons, but gave it away as we thought we were done having kids. now that #3 is just about old enough, i’d love a new one. it worked miracles for my older boys! they never used training wheels at all!

I have never heard of this bike; it sounds awesome! We are currently trying to teach our 5 year old to go without his training wheels and his little sister is starting to learn as well.

My three year old just got a tricycle for his birthday. I don’t think he is ready for a two wheeled bike yet, he is just getting the hang of peddling. It would be cool to win though.

Awesome bike! I have seen them around as we have gone to the park, and my tot always tries to run and get on them. It would be great if we could avoid that power struggle!

This would be so fun for my almost three year old. She always see’s the big kids on their bikes and wants one of her own. This would be a great way to teach her how to balance for when she does get one!

I would love to win one of these for my little munchkins (currently almost 3 and 19 months). This would make teaching them to ride so much easier! Thanks for the chance!!!

I’d love it win a balance bike! My friend’s two-year-old has one and just learned how to ride a regular two-wheeler. They are awesome!

I just saw a neighbor boy riding one of these yesterday. I think it would be awesome for my 2 year old (actually the 2 and 5 year old would fight)! What a fun giveaway! Thanks!!!!

I don’t recall how I found your blog, but I love it! My niece just turned 3 and my son is 1. I can’t wait until they chase each other down the block on their bikes!

oh this would be so nice. my little guy is way past due to start on a bigger bike and this would be the right thing for him!

Would love to give one of these bikes a try with my 2 and 4 y.o.- niether one is riding a bike yet… maybe this is just the thing!

The balance bikes are great. My oldest first “biked” on a balance bike and when we got him a pedal bike when he was 4.5 y.o., he easily picked up how to do it – he was riding on his own in literally a few minutes (never used training wheels). My 3 y.o. is currently on the balance bike and it is getting pretty worn out, and I still have a baby who will need one…so we’d love to win one! 🙂

This is such a nice giveaway! My neighbour has a similar bike and my 2 year old son loves to push it. We were thinking of buying him one, but hopefully we win it :).

This is oh so perfect for my son who will be two in December. Bikes are his thing, whenever he sees one in a store his attention goes straight to that section in an instance.

I’ve got three kids under five right now (the six year old loves to bike), so I think we could put one of these to good use.

Would LOVE to get this bike for our 4 year old son. We’ve been researching and balance bikes seem to be the right choice…at least for us!

Most kids are interested in learning how to ride a bike. It’s certainly a perfect way to get them to go outside and be involved with outside activities. As a mother myself, I am speechless by the sense of accomplishment and pride that I experienced the first time my kids rode a bike. I even bought them a balance bike for training and they totally loved it. Balance bikes are a modern bicycle trend to help educate babies and kids on bike riding on two wheels instead of using training wheels or a tricycle. You can check out Netparents for great balance bike reviews that might be interesting for you.

Thanks for adding this blog, it is really helpful! I highly appreciate that you share your knowledge and experience.