So, here in Spain it’s definitely summer! The bike park down the road is bustling with families, kids of all ages out and about, enjoying the sun, burning off all that extra energy. All very inspiring! So much so that I decided to do a piece on biking… No, not the Route 66 kind 🙂 , just the good old kind of riding we all enjoyed ourselves as kids! So, in this article, I am going to be going over some of the amazing benefits that your child gets from being out on two (or three, or four…) wheels, as well as sharing with you some of the best tricks and tips I’ve found online for helping your little one pick up this tricky talent. We will be touching on some important things to remember safety-wise, and there may even be a funny little extra or two! I hope you find this article helpful!
Benefits of Riding a Bike
First of all, let’s take a look at the benefits of bike riding from a child developmental point of view. The most obvious benefit of an activity like bike riding would be the physical. Great for burning calories and developing muscle strength, specifically in the lower extremities. What other activity can you think of that is as much fun as biking that really isolates those growing leg muscles? None, really… Your little one will also get a whole lot of bilateral coordination practice, learning to work both legs together to turn the pedals, as well as the perfect opportunity to improve their balance. Working the handlebars encourages upper body coordination and strength as the hands and arms support your little one’s body and control direction while turning. All in all a great work-out, especially when going super fast or putting in that extra effort to climb a hill!
Apart from being a great way to help your child stay on track physically, being able to, or even just open to trying to, ride a bicycle can benefit your child in so many ways. Riding a bike is normally a social event with kids, be it because you live in a great neighborhood where the kids ride together most evenings or because you have managed to find a great bike park or path that you visit as a family. The social interactions can lead to a more rapid development in advanced language skills as your child communicates with the other children, and can give your child a sense of belonging, a boost in confidence and help them develop their ability to voice their own opinions too. Add to that just getting out there, laughing, getting some sun and feeling the wind in their hair… what a treat!
But how do I help my little one get it right?
Good question… as with so many other things in life, there is no specific right or wrong way. And it is important to remember that each child masters these things at their own pace. Luckily, there are so many places online to find great tips to help with this wonderful but sometimes difficult task, and I’ve decided to take the ‘www-work’ out of it for you, by compiling a list of the best tips here for you… easy!
- Start while your child is young. There are some great product available nowadays to help, including balance bikes and my personal favorite and one I’ll be getting for new baby soon, the LCP bike for babies from the age of 10-months!
- Start off practicing on the grass. This can help your little one feel more secure and less nervous about falling.
- Try coasting downhill first. Just feeling the joy that comes with gliding along, even if only for a few seconds, can ignite the passion in your little one, giving them the desire to get it right and getting them started on a lifelong journey of wind in their hair.
- Encourage your child to peddle faster. To stay up we need some speed. By being an encouraging and reassuring presence in the background, we help our little ones build up confidence, and within no time at all,you too will feel that swell of pride that comes from watching your child master the bicycle!
I really do hope that you’ve found what you were looking for here. Remember, it may take some time, and there may be a few hiccups along the way. Just encourage your child to keep on trying. It’s not easy to learn new things, but in the end it will be well worth it. And in case your feeling a little discouraged, take a look at this…