Learning how to ride a bike is nothing short of momentous to a child. The first few feet ridden without training wheels or an adult's steady hand on the seat can seem almost impossible to a child unsure of his balance. How can you help your son or daughter make the leap to independent riding? Here the parents of iVillage share their tried and true tips for teaching kids how to ride a bike.
Address Their Fears
"When I taught our seven-year-old daughter, I finally asked her (after quite a few frustrated attempts) what her biggest fear was, and she said it was falling and getting hurt. So I had her put on her wrist supports, elbow and knee pads that she wore when she skated (and her helmet of course). She felt just confident enough that if she fell all the parts that could get hurt would be protected. We did this without the training wheels, and she learned quickly after that."
--iVillage member BJFERG
Change the Situation
"My eight-year-old daughter just recently learned how to a bike. She had been having trouble when she would try with us. One weekend she spent the night at a friend's. Before she went, I mentioned to the friend's mom that my daughter was having trouble riding a bike. Well she came home the next day and showed off her riding talents! Her friend had taught her to ride."
--iVillage member CookinKel
Try Not to Compare Your Child With Other Kids
"Last summer my five-year-old son was still riding with training wheels. That fall, I took them off and told him that if he wanted to ride his bike, he would do so without them. It worked! In no time at all he had it mastered, and he's still very proud of himself. On the other hand, my daughter was seven when she learned how to balance and ride. And she has a very good friend who was 10 before she learned to ride with two wheels. So don't despair if the other kids are riding two-wheelers around the neighborhood and your child isn't, kids learn in their own time."
--iVillage member WILBSTEB
Give Them the Confidence To Do It on Their Own
"I have been trying to teach my grandson to ride a bike, and up until today, with little success and lots of frustration. I decided to give him some time off, then try again. Today, a few days after our last attempt, I simply told him we were going to just walk or coast on his bike for 15 minutes only, no riding. He was agreeable. Then, when I saw he was actually raising his feet, sitting on the seat and coasting and balancing well, I made it his choice, did he want to just try the pedals? He said sure, and instantly he just took off riding with me just holding onto the rope (as a token only) we had tied to his seat for balance. I let the rope have all the slack, and it was not affecting his ride at all, but he did not know that! Then, I just took off the rope, started walking behind him, then stopped. About 50 feet down the street, he put on the brakes, looked back and said 'Gosh Nana! I am riding a two wheeler all by myself, how did I do that?' And that was that. He could hardly wait to show his Papa, his big brother, and of course, his Daddy. I really think it was because I believed in him and helped him to believe in himself."
--iVillage member PAUBON