Trying to gauge when it is the right time for your child to start balance biking can be a tricky business.
But as with most things, especially when you are a parent, you will know! From the first tentative pushes on a ‘wooden bunny’, through to scooting along on a full-blown balance bike, you will usually know when the time is right. To help you out a bit we’ve put together a little guide on when to start and a few tips on how to encourage your child and build their confidence.
When is the right time?
There’s no right time in regards to when to get your child cycling, but of course, size and age comes into the equation. Generally you will know if your child is interested in cycling and if they are ready, if they are still crawling around and not able to get about by themselves, it might not be the best time to try as they won’t be able to support themselves. Children develop at different rates and as a parent you are in the best position to be able to know when they are ready to start using a balance bike.
Most children won’t start on their first balance bike until they are around 18 months to two years old. By this time they will have developed some strength, motor skills and will be tall enough to get started. Height is an important factor too, some children may have grown a lot in their first years and months, whilst others are slower to develop. Our PINTO allows your child to get on and ride at around 90cm, we’ve even included brakes so they can get used to them too. Specially made for smaller hands, we’ve designed them with safety in mind and when they’re ready for pedals they’ll still be on the same bike, meaning they don’t have to learn all over again and get used to a new bike. Plus, they’ll be able to stop once their whizzing about at speed!
Tips to get started
Weight is an important factor when choosing a balance bike, you don’t want to get something too heavy that they can’t move it around by themselves. Our bikes are super light weight, so there will be no problems there. Allow your child to play with the bike, pick it up, touch it and get used to it. Usually their curiosity and having seen people on bikes before will mean they want to sit on it. Support them as they get used to it and make sure their feet are firmly touching the ground to start with. Once they have the hang of it or are very confident being on tip toes is fine too.
Allow them to scoot around either inside, in the garden or in a safe area such as a park. Wearing a helmet is a great idea because unfortunately wobbles are likely and it’s good to be safe. You’ll probably find they get used to it pretty quickly so just keep an eye on them and let them figure it out for themselves. It should be very rewarding for both of you.
What if they haven't learned yet?
Even if your child is a little older, never had an interest when they were younger, or perhaps struggle because of confidence or ability, a balance bike can be a fantastic introduction into cycling. You can now get balance bikes for bigger children and it really is a great place to start in regards to building confidence and allowing them to learn the skills they need. Our 16” wheeled SKØG allows children up to around 112cm (and beyond if needed) to use the bike in its balance mode. That’s roughly in the 5 to 8 year old age bracket.
There isn’t an exact right time to start balance biking, so it’s good to ask around, let your child try bikes out if their friends have one, but usually around 18 months is a good benchmark because they will usually be confidently walking at this stage. There will be exceptions to this, but again, as parent you’ll have the best of idea of when your child is ready and may be surprised how fast they take to riding on a balance bike.