Children who have been learning to cycle with training wheels will usually be proficient in pedaling and steering. However, because of the way in which the training wheels work, they will have no balance and will likely find it difficult to cycle when these are removed. So, how do you help your child make the transition?
Is Your Child Ready?
It is hard to tell when the right time is to ditch the training wheels, but if you can see that your child is becoming more confident and is cycling faster then he or she might be ready. Children who can easily turn their bike, navigate uneven surfaces, and are confident cycling down an incline are usually ready.
Lift the Training Wheels
To give your child an indication of what it will be like to cycle without the training wheels, you can simply raise them up slightly to begin with. By doing this the training wheels will still offer support, but your child will have to master the art of balancing in order to cycle the bike. The training wheels will just be there should he/she fall to one side or the other. Once your child can ride the bike with the training wheels raised up slightly, you can raise them even higher. Each time you raise them, your child will need to get used to balancing the bike again, which will make it easier when the training wheels come off fully.
Remove the Training Wheels and the Pedals
When you feel that your child is ready for the training wheels to come off, it is best to take the pedals off at the same time. This is a great tip for allowing your child to experience balancing without the pedals getting in the way. The folk at Woom say this is akin to learning how to cycle on a balance bike and is only required for a short time until the child gets used to balancing the bike on two wheels only.
Return the Pedals to the Bike
When your child can comfortably hold the bike on two wheels and glide with their feet in the air, they are ready for the pedals to be put back on. He or she will have already mastered the act of pedaling and steering with the training wheels and should now have some confidence in balancing the bike. The only thing that might stand in their way at this stage is the initial push to get started, but this is where you come in.
Hold the back of the seat and remind the child that once you push, they should start pedaling. Tell him or her that they can put their feet on the ground if they are wobbling too much and feels as though they might fall. You may have to practice the push off a few times, but it shouldn’t take long for them to get the hang of it.
Transitioning from training wheels on a bike to riding one with two wheels only can be tough for youngsters. Many find it easier to master the art of balancing if they learn on a balance bike first or if they have already mastered another balancing activity such as skateboarding.
Nevertheless, if you are helping your child with the transition to two wheels, you can make it easier by initially raising up these wheels so that they continue to provide support while also encouraging the child to balance the bike. When you do take the training wheels off for good, you can also take the pedals off until your child is comfortable balancing the bike.