Biking is a great family activity that is fun for all ages and gives everyone exercise. You would be surprised how early kids can learn to ride a bike. We have the top 6 tips you need to help teach your toddler to ride a bike!
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. If you use the right equipment and techniques, kids can learn to ride a bike as young as 2 years old!
Signs Your Child is Ready to Learn to Ride a Bike
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- Push start on a very slight decline, like your driveway. This helps the child get a bit of momentum.
- 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.
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.
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie