How to introduce bikes to our kids safely and without tears

How to introduce bikes to our kids safely and without tears

The LAST THING any parent wants is a bike collecting dust in a corner of their garage never to be ridden because their child doesn’t like it or has a bad experience. To avoid a dust-covered bike and frustration tears, we've rounded up our tips and tricks of how to introduce bikes and helmets to your child so that they discover (and keep) their love of bikes! 

Phase 1: Introducing the Bike & Helmet

Start Early: 12 - 18 months is a great time to buy a balance bike and helmet, even if your kiddo is still a bit too small or wobbly to walk independently. Leaving the balance bike and helmet around your home so that your child has an opportunity to explore both items on their own time and when their interest sparks them let's them know it's not something to be scared of, it's just around (like any other piece of furniture in your home). Should your toddler find themselves scared of their bike or helmet, don't push it on them. Brief increments of exposure, repeatedly over time will help them understand that 1) they're not scary, and 2) they won't do anything to them. 

Get Excited & Create A Positive Feedback Loop

When your child shows an interest in their bike and/or helmet, get excited! Use a more animated voice, talk about how fun bike riding is, show them that the bike rolls back and forth, ding the bell, knock the helmet to make a fun noise, etc. With our 12 month old, we tend to have special treats (or extra treats) on hand when we play/check out his bike and helmet. Having our children recognize that time with the bike leads to things they are interested in (treats, positive attention, being outside) creates that positive feedback loop. Once he is able to ride his bike, we'll keep trail cookies on hand for ride breaks and to solidify that bike time is special family time.

Add Some Flair to Their Bike & Helmet

Don't be afraid to add some flair to their bike and helmet - stickers, a personalized sticker with their name on it, a bike bell, tassels, colorful handlebar tape, a Vroom bike noisemaker - anything that makes their bike more desirable to them. 

Have Your Kid Wear Their Helmet Periodically

Get your kiddo comfortable with their helmet by having them wear it periodically, even when they aren't riding their bike, to get used to the feeling of it on their head.

Set a Good Example

One way to encourage your child to ride is for them to see you on a bike ( with a helmet!). Our kids like to do what we do, so chances are if they see you on a bike, they're going to want to give it a try too. But make sure you set a good example and always wear a helmet when riding. Did you know that only38% of people who ride bikes regularly wear a helmet? Only 38%!? Again, please be safe when riding a bike and set a good example by wearing your helmet and following the rules of the road. 

Phase 2: Riding the Bike

Now that your child knows that their bike and helmet aren't worth getting worked up over, it's time to hit Phase 2 - getting them on the bike. 

Practice Daily 

Have your toddler straddle their balance bike for a few minutes, every day. Once they are comfortable with standing over their bike, practice walking with them (while you support their bike). Take a few steps forward, showing them how to walk with the bike. We should note - do this on a flat ground, in a place they are comfortable - inside or outside. Over the next few days (or week) - help your kid walk further and further with less and less support. The key to success here is consistency but not forcing it. 

Monkey See, Monkey Do

If you have any family friends with kids who know how to ride bikes (balance or pedal), set-up a bike play date. Kids soak up their surroundings and the phrase 'Monkey-see, Monkey-do' is applicable in the learning process of riding a bike. No kids who ride in your circle? Hop on your bike and get riding, even if it's just up and down your driveway/street.

Have Patience - It Will Click

This isn't going to happen overnight, and each kid will pick up the skills to ride a balance bike in their own time. However, once it clicks - their lives (and yours!) won't ever be the same 🙂. 

If you have any questions about how to get your little one used to their bike, connect with a Bambino Gear Expert today!

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