For children learning the art of balance can be a tricky thing. For years we as parents have spent long hours with our kids and toddlers teaching them the art of riding a bike. We started them on tricycles (trikes) and then graduate them to a two wheel bike with training wheels before finally removing them and running behind them as they pedal down the road or across the park.
This traditional method of learning to ride a bike comes with a few shortfalls including:
- It can take kids longer to learn to balance
- It can take longer for children to feel confident when biking
- It takes more time as a parent to teach your children to learn how to ride
- It can be expensive buying extra accessories like the training wheels
Balance bikes like the Wishbone Bike, Strider and others greatly reduce:
- Length of time it takes to learn to balance
- Time it takes for your child to feel confident riding a bike
- The expense of buying additional bits and pieces for your kid's bike
- The time and effort required by a parent to train the child.
Riding it won't happen overnight but it will happen
When you first get a balance bike for a toddler you will see they still approach it with some trepidation. In fact, my first child used to ride it for 10 meters and then lay it on the ground. This indicated to us that perhaps it was a little too much for a 2yr old. However, with a little patience and encouragement he soon learned to master the bike and in a few short weeks he was so mobile we had to slow him down.
Little parental help needed with Balance Bikes
The thing that amazed me as a parent is how little intervention was required. In previous years I had helped our nephew learn to ride when his training wheels came off. This required a great amount of running along beside the bike with one hand poised under the seat in case he fell off. With the balance bike, I did this for a short period along the sidewalk before realising that this was more my fears than our son's fears. Even though he didn't immediately have balance he knew how to walk so having the bike underneath him was a natural progression. I would even say it was effortless. Just make sure when you start the seat is not too high so the child can walk with the bike offering a little support underneath.
Balance bikes teach balance & more
The results meant more than just mobility and balance. Yes, most kids learn to balance and can lift their legs while coasting down hills and more. But they also:
- Gain more confidence in themselves in all areas
- Become more mobile, capable of travelling greater distances easily (we walk 2-5kms and our 2-3 yr. old easily runs along ahead of us)
- Get balance skills they might otherwise not learn until forced to ride a full sized bike
- Enjoy more freedom - are able to travel and roam seemingly giving much more happiness and responsibility