Teaching your child to ride a bike is one of the many milestones of parenting. It’s a milestone for your child too, as cycling can improve balance, coordination and agility. You might remember your first time riding a bike, or the first time you took off those stabilizers and took to the road completely aid-free.
Well, times have changed, and stabilizers have been replaced with a new kid on the block. Balance bikes are becoming increasingly popular, and the child development experts over at Baby Sparks think that they could improve spatial awareness, motor planning and balance. This article explains the benefits of balance bikes and explains why balance bikes are a great option for teaching your kid how to cycle.
What Are Balance Bikes?
The first two things that you need to know about balance bikes is that they don’t come with stabilizers and that they don’t come with pedals. With stabilizers, the onus is on teaching you how to steer, but with balance bikes it’s teaching you how to balance, hence the name balance bikes. The child pushes the bike along with their feet and learns how to balance by raising their feet off the floor.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Balance Bike?
If you’re wondering whether to stay traditional and get a pedal bike with stabilizers, or jump into the new and try a balance bike, then we’ve put together this handy guide that’s sure to help you make your choice.
1) Kids of Most Ages Can Use Balance Bikes (Yes, Even Toddlers!)
The earlier you can get your little one onto the saddle the better. Those early years are crucial in a child’s development and most children before the ages of two are starting to experiment with running back and forth, climbing the stairs or throwing a ball. Your usual balance bike is available for kids as young as 12 months old all the way up to being an early adult, so no matter what your child’s age, you can ensure that they won’t miss out on cycling.
Most balance bikes come with a lever for increasing the height of the seat and handle bars. You can purchase the bikes in a series of sizes depending on the size of your child, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a bike that fits your child perfectly.
2) Balance Bikes Are Far Safer Than a Bike With Stabilizers
Stabilizers can prevent a biking novice from falling off and causing an injury. But what happens when the youngster removes the stabilizers? The chances are that they might crash and hurt themselves, which can damage confidence and set them back months in learning.
Balance bikes don’t come with pedals and force the learner to push along with their feet. They improve control and balance rather than steering, and if they lose control, well, all they need to do is put their feet down to regain their balance. Before you know it your toddler will be going round corners and bends like a pro.
3) They Are Super Easy to Use and Convenient For Parents
If you’re still not convinced of the benefits of balance bikes, then you should hear just how easy they are to maintain and use. Some balance bikes don’t come with a brake, and most don’t come with a chain or pedals, meaning that you won’t have to faff around cleaning dirt and oil from those hard to reach areas.
This also means that they are extremely easy to use. The bikes are designed to teach kids to cycle, and don’t require any complicated tasks before use. Most balance bikes have a simple lever that you can press to alter the seat and handle height, and you don’t need to teach your child how to operate brakes or gears. If your child is careering out of control, they can put their feet down to stop the bike safely.
4) Improve Your Toddlers Strength, Motor Skills and Independence
By learning early, your child can be one step ahead of their nursery class when it comes to strength, motor skills and independence. Not only do balance bikes make the transition to pedal bikes easier, but they force you to learn how to balance, perfect for maneuvering through corners and careering down hills when you do finally move onto to bigger things. When your toddler wants to build up some speed, they’ll have to raise their feet from the ground, improving not just balance but gaining arm, core and shoulder strength.
They also remove the dependency on stabilizers, giving a toddler the confidence to be independent on their bike. They won’t be nervously peddling along the path, and you’ll probably be running to catch up with them as they make the step from crawling on their hands and knees to exploring the great outdoors.
5) They are Extremely Fun!
Hopefully, you haven’t been struggling to get your kids to exercise, but with TVs, game consoles, tablets and smartphones invading our and our children’s lives, it’s becoming a far more difficult task. Whether your child is a toddler taking their first tentative steps outdoors or a late bloomer looking to take to the road, balance bikes can be a fun and exciting excuse to turn off the TV, put down the smart phone and step outdoors.
The safer design means that any kid can zoom around the garden and yard safely, learning balance, improving strength and gaining in confidence. It’ll make them the most popular kid in the nursery, with every toddler in town nagging their parents for their own balance bike.
The Gateway to Bigger Things
A balance bike can leave your little one anxious to get their first pedal bike. They can be the gateway between crawling and experimenting, to confidently speeding around the garden and racing their friends. Coming in sizes ranging from just 12 months to early adult, it’s not hard to see why balance bikes are overtaking stabilizers as parent’s first choice. So, what are you waiting for?