When is the Right Time to Remove Your Child’s Training Wheels?
Learning to ride a bike is a defining childhood moment and most youngsters start out with training wheels. Most children begin learning to ride a bicycle around the age of six and at the point, their balance is still developing. Training wheels can help them to gain confidence is steering and maneuvering the bike without having to rely on their own balance before they are ready. Helping your child to master bike riding can occur over a few stages. The first is to ensure that they are able to get on and off the bike themselves and that the seat and pedals are in the proper position.
Learning to steer can take a lot of practice and it is best to work on mastering this skill on straight sidewalks without any turns or bends. Steering is very important and your child should be able to adeptly maneuver the bicycle without any assistance before you think about removing the training wheels. Once they are able to navigate corners and bends they can focus on stopping without falling and dismounting from the cycle. When your child is riding like a champ with their training wheels on there is one more possible step prior to removing them.
Training wheels have multiple positions and where you attach them to the bike will affect the amount of support that is provided. As your child is starting out they should be attached with the closest position to the bike in order to provide the highest level of balancing assistance. When they have gained more confidence you can progressively move the position to the point where the training wheels are providing the least amount of assistance and your child is nearly balancing on their own.
On the day that you remove the training wheels your child may need some added assistance in finding their balance and riding without the added support. As you help them to gain confidence be sure to never hold onto the bike. It is best to hold their shoulders and allow them to learn how the bike feels and moves without the trainers. The easiest way to help them to get started is to run behind the bike as they pedal and let go once they have securely found their balance. Balancing can be difficult when you are going at a slow pace so be sure to not hold them back, you will have to run fast enough so that they can get going while you are still supporting them.
If your child has gained the necessary confidence with their training wheels it won’t take much time at all for them to get used to riding without them. Be sure to keep close supervision while they are still finding their confidence as a few falls are likely. Before you know it they will be zooming around on their own increasing speed as they feel bolder. Learning to ride a bike is one of the great pleasures of childhood and will be a lasting memory for both you and your kiddo.