Some kids take right to their balance bike with no encouragement. Others, especially young toddlers, need a little help to learn how to ride a balance bike. They get frustrated or show no interest.
Here are our five no-fail tips to get them excited about riding in no time.
Ride your bike too.
Toddlers love nothing more than copying what their parents do. Both my husband and I are avid cyclists and my son had watched us riding since he was a few months old.
When he finally got his first balance bike (a little before 18 months), he was shaking he was so excited. Even if it is just riding around the driveway, seeing you ride is a sure way to create interest in your little.
If they have a big brother or sister (or friend) they can watch ride, even better. A little “peer pressure” can go a long way.
Get a balance bike that fits.
If your kiddo is frustrated with their bike, there is a good chance it is too big or too heavy. Pick a lightweight bike with a low stand-over height that’s designed for the youngest kids.
(Need help choosing? Take a look at our list of the best balance bikes for toddlers).
If you already have a bike and don’t want to spend money on a new one, make sure the seatpost and handlebars are lowered all the way. If that doesn’t work, put the bike away for a few months and let them get a little taller. It is amazing how quickly they will grow and be ready for it!
Practice for 10-15 minutes a day.
Repetition is key for kids at this age, so try to get outside and offer them their balance bike for a little bit every day. That said, don’t overwhelm them. Let them try for a few minutes and if they start to get frustrated, move on. Try again tomorrow.
Find a hill.
No, not a big one—just a slight incline where they can get a feel for momentum. A grassy hill at the playground, a sloped driveway, or a small bike ramp can all work.
For some kids, this will make all the difference. This is especially true for little ones who are stuck in the walk or scoot phases of balance biking.
If they need reassurance, walk alongside them with your hand on their back.
Pick some fun accessories.
My son has a helmet he loves. Sometimes he rides his bike just so he can wear his helmet.
Other kids might enjoy bike gloves, a bell on their handlebars, or a basket to tote their teddy bear in. No, this isn’t going to help them to learn to actually ride, but it might entice them to spend more time on their bike.
Go On An Adventure
If you’ve only tried using the balance bike in the driveway, try GOING somewhere. Find a mellow dirt trail, or a grassy field, or even a rocky area. Some little ones love the idea of adventure and exploration.
Bring It Inside
On the flip side, you can also try offering the balance bike inside the house. Leave it in their playroom or somewhere they pass by often. In a low-pressure, familiar environment, they might be more likely to give it a try all on their own.
This is especially true for very young toddlers who are likely to have a short attention span. They might pick up the bike for a minute or two at a time, but over weeks or months, they’ll start to develop skills and confidence that will serve them well.
In the end, be patient. Some kids ride at 18 months with no problem. Others don’t show an interest until much later—like 4 or 5. Every kid is individual.
If it is important to you that they ride, the best thing you can do is make cycling a part of your family routine. Get a trailer or child seat and go for rides that way. In no time, they will demand to be riding on their own.