There are a number of factors that can influence when you child is ready to experiment using a balance bike under parent facilitation;
Their motor development. Being able to do the following motor skills.
- walk reasonable balanced that is less wide and clumsy (like you see in early walkers)
- walk up and down stairs with support
- starting to show signs of being able to run
- Balance bikes come with a minimum seat height. Your child will need to be a certain size to be able to sit on the balance bike seat and propel themselves with their legs. See balance bike sizing guide.
- This is not as important as a lot of the strength requirements can be overcome with parent facilitation in the early stages of learning to ride a balance bike. As they start to do these tasks with your help they will start to develop the required strength and become more independent. Strength that allows them to walk with the balance bike, pick the bike up and make it upright, able to lift their leg over the bike frame so they can sit on the seat and straddle the bike, put the bike down. The weight of a balance bike will be important if you are wanting to use the bike at 18 month to 2 years – as a guide – the bike should not weigh more that 30% of your child’s weight. See balance bike fitting guide.
- How do the approach new activities? Do they take a timid or no fear approach to new activities? Those children unsure of new activities are going to be a little more hesitant to give riding a balance bike a go compared to the no fear child. Your approach to these types of personalities will be different. Ranging from a slow introduction to riding a balance bike – focusing on support, encouragement and belief compared to the no fear child where the focus will be on safety and ensuring that they don’t crash and develop a dislike to their bike because of repetitive incidents that may keep occurring. Most children will lie somewhere in between.
- Being exposed to role models – older brothers and sisters or cousins and friends that have a balance bike or ride a bike certainly help with desire and an understanding of what to do and how to ride a balance bike
- A balance bike is a bike so they need to wear a bike helmet. If they are not keen on wearing a helmet it is a simple rule. No helmet no riding. They will need a helmet that fits their head and will remain on and over their head in an impact. The right kids bike helmet. Correct fitting of a kids bike helmet
These are some simple guidelines so you can make a judgement, a decision on when your child might be ready so you and your family can find your riding SMILE. All these points aside don’t be afraid to purchase a balance bike early and give them time to slowly become familiar with the bike – no pressure. As long as you have made sure that you have a balance bike that will grow with them this is a good way to approach learning to ride a balance bike.