In a few simple steps you can teach your child to ride a balance bike with ease and confidence.
1) Proper Fit
Setting the right saddle (seat) height is essential for comfort, efficiency and avoiding injury. Changing the saddle height is one of the simplest adjustments you can make to your child's bike, but one which arguably brings the most benefits.
Set the saddle height so your child's feet are flat on the ground and both knees have a slight bend in them when seated. A good starting point is 1" less that the child's inseam. It's always important to choose the correct bike size and we recommend that you review our helpful balance bike sizing chart and guide before making your purchase.
Set the handlebar height with respect to the saddle. If the saddle is at its lowest setting, set the handlebar also to its lowest setting. If the saddle is in the middle of its adjustment range, also set the handlebar in the middle of its adjustment range… and so on.
Kids grow quickly, so you will need to take a moment to adjust the bike every couple months to insure a proper fit.
To better assist you with finding the right bike and fit for your child we have organized our selection of bikes by age groups.
Children will instinctively throw a leg over their balance bike and want to go. Encourage them to do this and give them praise for any amount of time they spend on their bike. Don't push them to do things they are not ready to do or they may just rebel against the whole idea of riding. The worst thing that can happen is for children to get scared by trying something they are not ready to try. It can take months to undo what a scary moment can do.
Let them set the pace and keep encouraging them along the way.
A number of parents have told us that it was helpful for their child to see other children riding their balance bikes. Children want to participate, especially when they see other children have so much fun.
Support the child - NOT the bike!
We instinctively want to help our child by holding onto the bicycle to keep it from falling; don't do this... it actually hinders the ability to learn balance!! The child must be allowed to feel the bike tip sideways to be able to learn how to keep if from tipping. If the adult supports the bike when it tips to one side, the child mistakenly thinks that the most stable place for the bike is tipped over to the side (not realizing that that stability was due to your assistance). This is the same reason training wheels DON'T WORK to learn balance! You as the "teacher" should support the child's body, not the bike. We suggest you walk behind them or next to them and hang onto the sides of their chest under their arms or hang onto the back of their shirt so that they can feel safe. Using this approach, you will find that they will learn the basic concept of keeping the bike centered underneath them in a matter of minutes and then your assistance will no longer be needed!
Many kids won't even sit on the seat at first; this is "ok" and natural. Their security is in their feet at this point, and we want them to feel secure. As they become comfortable walking around with the bike between their legs and working the handlebar, they will eventually start to "trust" the saddle. Older kids get to this point in minutes, extremely young kids may take a few weeks.
Gliding is attained when they transition from 100% of their trust in their feet to 100% of their trust in the saddle (feet off the ground). Let them transition at their own pace. Soon they will be gliding along with feet up before you know it.
Extremely young children need more help initially. Children three years old and up typically have enough walking balance and coordination to learn how to ride the bike without your support.
Most importantly, enjoy sharing with your child the experience of learning how to ride a bike. It's an experience you both won't forget.