A while ago now we wrote about how to teach your kids to ride a bike, with lots of tips and even a video to inspire you. But what happens if you’re past this stage and your child can now ride their bike, but is lacking confidence? What’s the best approach then? How do you get them enthusiastic about riding a bike when they are anxious?
It’s true that some children will take longer than others when they’re learning to ride a bike. Gaining confidence to be independent on a bike is all part of the learning curve and some will take a while to get there. It’s really important (and often very difficult!) to be very patient. Getting cross or short-tempered with them will do more harm than good, and no-one will be having a good time. When you can get them out on their bike give them lots of praise and encouragement and don’t push them too far.
Back to Basics:
If you’re child has learned to ride their bike but lacks the ability to do it confidently, maybe take some time to go over the basics, for both of you. From a parent’s point of view, ensure your child feels comfortable and safe on their bike. Check their helmet for a good fit, give them some knee and elbow pads if they’re afraid of hurting themselves if they fall, and ensure the bike is the right size and the saddle in the right position. Some children find balancing quite hard when the bike is heavy, so ensure the weight of your child’s bike isn’t causing them a problem.
Practice, Practice, Practice:
Do you think your child isn’t confident on their bike through a lack of practice? It’s certainly true that in the Winter months a new, young cyclist may lose some of their cycling skills if they aren’t having the chance to use them. The more opportunities you can give them to practice the more confident they are going to be.
We all know that a lack of confidence needs a nurturing and encouraging attitude to help build it up. If your child is refusing to go out on bike rides with the family it’s time to think small again. Take the time to give your child some one to one cycling, over a short distance for a short time. Take it easy, offer the praise and know when to stop. If the last thing the child remembers is a successful experience, they are more likely to try it again next time. If you can, take them to a quiet, smooth and easy park or path to help build that confidence and feel good about being out on a bike. Slowly build up the trips over time, taking care to always end on a high note.
For some children, particularly if they’ve had a bad experience it may take some time to build up their confidence. You may even want to start again and take them back to the balance bike stage although not all children will respond well to going ‘backwards’.
However you approach this, your time, encouragement and praise will eventually pay off. Just be patient and they will get there.
We have lots of kids bikes and accessories that make your child’s cycling experience fun and exciting so get in touch or check out the website if you think we can help.