Benefits of Balance Bikes
Benefits of balance bikes. So much more than just learning to ride a bike.
As a parent, you will want to purchase toys that are age-appropriate for your children. If you can buy toys that are not only fun but that are also developmentally important, then you are helping a child reach milestones sooner. The main benefit of balance bikes is to develop the skills that are essential to learning to cycle.
- Balance: The main aim of a balance bike is to teach balance first. They can be ridden safely from a much younger age than a bike with pedals and most children start around 18 months. With two feet on the ground and a handlebar to hold onto, they can start to learn to balance by simply walking it along. With further practice the walking turns into a quicker, longer striding pace & finally the feet raise from the ground and balance starts developing. View the image below to see the 3 stages of balance.
- These 3 stages can take between a couple of weeks to many months to master. There is no correct or incorrect amount of time, stay patient, praise your child’s time spent on the bike and real progress will be achieved. Remember children are all individuals!
- In all our years of experience, being your child’s greatest supporter is far, far better than being a coach. As long as it’s safe to do so, always let your child handle the bike independently. I know, particularly in the early days of riding, the temptation is great to give them a helping hand, that extra little bit of support. Please try to avoid this wherever possible. Always let your child feel the weight of the bike as it moves from the left to the right side while walking with it.
- As a general rule, pedal bikes are too big, heavy & complex for toddlers. Bikes fitted with brakes and pedals, make things too complicated for young children to handle straight away and they get frustrated. The older the child, the more features you can introduce. Such as considering a convertible balance bike you add pedals for children aged 3 years plus.
- Development Skills: Balance bikes offer a lot of developmental benefits. Using one improves motor skills, such as teaching kids how to turn corners. They also start to understand depth perception and three-dimensional awareness, as they learn to deal with minor obstacles. Gross motor skills improve. Playing games on balance bikes speed this process up by making it more fun.
Exercise, confidence, freedom and convenience!
- Exercise: Young children don’t understand the concept and importance of exercise. They just want to burn energy and have fun. This is why starting to ride bikes when they are toddlers is perfect. Much more fun than a slow walk in the park. Balance bikes are a great way of getting some much-needed time outside that is fun and engaging. We have some suggestions of games and ways to play on balance bikes where you can introduce other skills such as counting, colours and even spotting street signs when they start reading. Kidvelo Bikes have all-terrain pneumatic tyres, making riding anywhere possible. The most significant benefit is your child wants to get outside and ride.
- Confidence Improves: The child feels safe, as they are low to the ground. Consequently, Kidvelo’s balance bike’s design lowers the centre of gravity further than any other. The bike design helps make balance easier to learn, and the low frame step-over makes it easy to mount. They control their speed, and direction and are in control of the situation at all times. Pedal bikes with stabilisers fail miserably at helping children feel confident. Then once stabilisers are removed, they often have feelings of fear and frustration. Born from losing the one thing that helped them keep their balance, the stabilisers and you are back to square one; a child with no balance. Balance bikes are safer for kids as they can quickly put their feet down to stop. Riding with feet up on pedals, they can’t put two feet flat on the ground when they need to stop. Additionally, they also have to learn to control the brakes at the same time. Overwhelming!
- Freedom to explore: Children learn through play. Whilst we aren’t suggesting that your child goes off to explore alone, if you allow them to set the direction that they go and the speed they travel at, they feel much more independent and responsible for their actions. They feel proud when they discover a new favourite place to ride or jump off their first hurdle. We would always suggest they walk their bikes across roads, but even then, they will take great pride in everyone watching them with their bike.
- Convenient for parents: Balance bikes are lighter, which means they can be carried far easier back from nursery or pre-school. Easier to store too, as they are small and even easier to pile on top of the luggage if going away on a family holiday. Choose an easily adjustable quality balance bike that will allow for growth spurts and will cover your child for several years. With our lifetime warranty on our bikes, it will cater for any siblings, cousins or friends you pass it on to.
- Skip the stabilisers stage completely! The next move should be to a larger balance bike that you can add pedals to. Adjusting to a bigger, heavier bike in balance mode as the next step up, whilst getting used to brakes, stops kids from feeling overwhelmed. Consequently, when pedals are then added, they just have to get used to pedalling to propel the bike, rather than using their feet. We have designed larger balance bikes that you can add pedals to for this reason that are still super light and work perfectly in either mode. Children who have learned to balance first, find learning to ride a pedal bike much easier and usually master it a lot earlier. The transition to pedalling is easy once they are confident and can balance well.
We have put together a few tricks we have learnt over the years in our blog “Tips to getting started”
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