Is your child begging for a toddler bike? Children love wheels and the power of independent motivation, and there may come a time when the toddler trike just isn’t enough to cut it. Your child feels ready to graduate to a bike.
Can a toddler really ride a bike? If your toddler is a little one or two year old, the answer is no, unless you have some sort of prodigy child. Two year olds simply don’t have the sense of balance required to bike, and are much better off with a little tricycle that they can scoot around in till they learn to pedal.
But if your child is on the far side of three or even four, it’s possible he or she may be ready to learn balance and the finer points of bike riding that can’t be taught on a tricycle. Children vary greatly in their development of gross motor skills, so don’t feel your child must learn just because he is four. There are children who aren’t ready till around six. But if your toddler is begging for a bike, or if you have a hankering to teach him, there’s no reason why you can’t give it a whirl.
Training wheels are useful for just one thing—allowing your child to figure out how to pedal. If he’s already learned how to pedal (for instance, from learning how to pedal a smaller tricycle) they are almost useless. They won’t help your child learn balance.
How does a toddler learn bike balance? How does anyone learn balance? It’s one of those mysterious things—now you don’t have it, now you do, and once you have it, no-one can take it away again. The only way to learn it seems to try, over and over again; just as your toddler learned how to walk when he was tiny. I’ve also found it helps immensely if I walk or run beside my toddler, steadying the bike from behind (holding under the seat, or someplace similar) while he pedals. This gives confidence and a chance for the child to get moving fast enough for the bike to really balance itself. When he is there, I let go; ready to play catch if the bike totters and falls. Using this method, it never seems to take a child long to ‘find his wheels’—if he was ready.
Ofcourse, if you have a Schwinn toddler bike, you have it made: all you need to do is use the parent handle.
When looking at bikes on Amazon one listing especially stood out to me—the top rated Schwinn bike, available in slightly different models for boys and girls. For boys, you have the Schwinn Boys’ 12 –inch Grit Bike. For girls, there’s the Schwinn Girls’ Petunia 12-inch Steerable Bike.
Now holding on to the back of your toddler’s seat to give him balance works fine—for the toddler. Last time I did that for my little guy, though, my back wasn’t very happy with me. He learned to ride. But I was so glad when that was accomplished. The wonderful thing about these Schwinn bikes is that you can hold on to the bike, steering and giving a bit of balance, without having to stoop at all. There’s a handle all ready waiting for you. Once your toddler learns how to ride, you take it off.
These bikes are also sturdy, and they have some nice features like a fully enclosed chain and rear and front dirt fenders. Small enough for a two year old, full-featured enough for when your child turns four; this is a bike you should be able to get your money’s worth out of.