Tips for getting children into cycling11 August, 2013 0 comments
Tips for teaching your children to love cycling
Everyone wants their children to become healthy and active individuals, and cycling is a great way to introduce them to a fun and active lifestyle. But how can you teach your children to love it? Here are some tips for the parents among you – so that you may raise a new and awesome generation of cycling buddies!
Start the cycling early – If you want cycling to be a normal part of life for your children, make sure you make it one! They don’t need to be old enough to ride on their own to accompany you on your bike. The smallest children can sit in a bike seat, while those a little older may sit in a bike trailer behind your bicycle as you ride around. This way, they’ll become used to the sensation of being on a bike, and to the idea that cycling is a thing people do.
Lead by example – Talking about the awesomeness of cycling may help you on occasions, but usually it’s more important that you show in your actions that it’s true. Therefore, if you enjoy cycling and engage in it regularly, odds are your children will want to follow lead. If it looks like fun (and a grown-up thing to do!), they’ll want to join in.
No pressure – Don’t pressure your children into riding their bikes or acquiring skills, since this might make it seem like doing chores and thus make them reluctant to even try. Instead, make it fun and take things according to their level. This includes teaching your children patiently and not expecting them to achieve a lot at a time. Take instructions one step at a time – for example teaching balance first and then moving on to controlling the bike. If your child enjoys using training wheels – let them have fun with them instead of insisting on removing them as soon as possible.
Get a fitting bike – It is important for children to feel safe while on the bike – this can make them more motivated to go riding. What is more, being well in control of the bike makes it easier to improve cycling abilities. Therefore you should make sure that the bicycle they are riding fits their size. The easiest way to make sure of that is checking that your child is able to stand over the top tube of the bike with both feet planted firmly in the ground.
Praise new skills and effort – For somebody still taking their first steps to learn cycling, every step counts. Therefore it is good to greet all improvements with a positive reaction – it is very easy to forget what learning to ride a bike can feel like! There will always be new skills to admire - from achieving balance to riding without training wheels to riding hands free further down the line. Also, remember that often it is enough for a child to ride the bike just down the street and back. Praise and reward them for that instead of pressuring them to ride more if they don’t want to – this will keep things fun.
Allow children to customize their bikes – One way of making children more interested in their cycling is to find ways to make them love their bicycles. To do this, you may want to take some time to artistically customize bikes together with your children, or to let them do it by themselves. For example, you might add stickers to the bike or even paint it according to your child’s wishes. A bicycle that is fully theirs will make your children want to go for rides more often.
Share the fun – Cycling is a great social activity, not just a workout. Therefore, grab the opportunity to spend time with family and go on cycling rides together. This way your children will learn about spending quality active time with other people! You might add in a picnic break for your bike ride or invite your children’s friends to join to make things extra fun.
Of course, at the end of the day some children will grow up to love cycling while others rarely get on the saddle – that’s because everybody has individual interests. But spending quality family time while being active is a great way to bring a family closer together, and to promote a healthy lifestyle in the long term.
Are you teaching your children to cycle? Do you have any other tips for teaching children to love cycling? Share them in the comments!