The first time your toddler takes off on his or her two-wheeled balance bike, you’ll be amazed at the mobility they’ve acquired in such a short period of time. Kids can learn to ride a bike without ever using training wheels! Balance bikes for toddlers are alsogreat for their physical development because they allow your young kids to build strength and coordination from the ground up. The best part is that toddlers have more fun when they’re not restricted by stabilizers–they are free to explore their world with confidence as soon as they master steering and stopping.
The worst thing about training wheels is that kids don’t get enough practice balancing on two wheels before being expected to pedal, which makes it difficult for some children who never quite manage this crucial skill.
But, on the whole, balance bikes are a great way to intriduce your kid to the joy of two wheel transport. So, lets dive in and take a look at what makes them so good and discover the do’s (and dont’s) of picking the best one for your kids.
What are balance bikes and how do they work?
Balance bikes are small balance wheeled bicycles. Their design is based on balance bikes that were first used in the 1800s and they enable a child to balance themselves on two wheels while riding. A balance bike enables toddlers to ride independently, without training wheels, which means they learn how to balance much faster than if training wheels had been used. They have no pedals or chain (although some brands do make 3-wheel balance bikes) and come with rubber tires instead of inflatable ones.
Why should I buy a balance bike for my toddler?
Balance bikes allow your toddler to balance and ride through their own efforts. This means they learn balance much faster than if they had been using training wheels, which have to be pushed by an adult in order for the child to balance. Training wheels effectively force your toddler’s legs up and down as they balance on two tiny pieces of metal; a balance bike does not require any pushing.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of balance bikes?
The biggest advantage in my opinion is that balance bikes can teach toddlers to balance without using training wheels. This means they learn to balance much faster, since their legs don’t have to be pushed up or down (like on training wheels). Not only will your toddler balance more quickly, but balance bike riding is much easier than balancing with training wheels; as a result, balance bike riders fall less often and get hurt less often when they do fall.
Since balance bikes don’t require any pushing from an adult in order for them to work, adults won’t need to bend over repeatedly whenever the child falls down – unlike when using training wheels. Therefore, these bikes are easier on parents’ backs and knees, while also improving balance in the kid.
Balance bikes are becoming more and more popular as an alternative to training wheels. They’re a great solution if you’re looking for balance bikes for 2 year olds or balance bikes for 3 year olds ; otherwise, with any balance bike, make sure to get one that’s the appropriate size so your toddler can reach the ground while sitting on it. They come in many shapes and sizes and they might look similar at first glance (especially when viewed from afar), but all balance bikes have different characteristics that will fit. So, lets look at that next….
How to pick the right size of balance bike for your child?
Balance bikes for toddlers come in a variety of shapes and sizes so the most important thing is to get one your child will be able to reach the ground with while sitting on it (otherwise, they’ll be left hanging in the air when trying to balance). The ideal bike shoudl also be comfortable enough for them to sit on for a long time. You might also want something that looks attractive and fun so your toddler will enjoy spending time on it.
The most common balance bike designs include:
- classic balance bike (cargo bike)
- balance trike
- balance with pedals
- balance tricycle
- balance quad/cycle
Typical balance bike sizes are
- 12-18″ balance bikes which are recommended for toddlers ages 1-2
- 18″-20″ balance bikes for toddlers ages 2–3
- 20″-23″ balance bikes for toddlers ages 3-4
Tips for teaching your child to ride a balance bike
Since balance bikes have no pedals, your child will need to balance by themselves. You can start with a balance bike that only has one wheel; balance bikes for 2 year olds generally work well in this case.
If the balance bike has 2 wheels (a dual-wheel balance bike), it’s highly recommended you put training wheels on the back of it instead of trying to teach your toddler how to balance as this will make the whole process much less stressful for both you and them.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll want to get a balance bike that’s the appropriate size so your kid can reach the ground while sitting on it. Your child should be able to comfortably and easily sit with their feet flat against the ground; if not, they won’t be able to balance effectively and safely.
When you start riding with your toddler, help them balance at first by pushing or holding the bike from behind, and then quickly take your hands away as they balance themselves. These small balance bikes will likely require a push at first (and even larger balance bikes eg for 3-year-olds may still require a push if your child is small). But, remember, if it’s too difficult to balance when sitting down all the way onto the seat – this indicates that the balance bike is probably too big for them.
At first, let your toddler stand on the bike while you hold onto it; this will help prepare them for balancing. It’ll also be easier to control the bike before they get going fast on it. Let your child balance by themselves as much as possible when they’re first starting out; balance bikes for toddlers are easy to balance once they’ve gotten used to them, so riders tend to quickly develop balance skills on their own.
If the balance bike has pedals, be sure not to step on them with your foot while your child is trying to balance. This will mess up his balance and he’ll lose control of the bike. If there’s a pedal on one side that can’t be blocked from below, then hold onto the seat instead (or block this pedal with something like a piece of wood / a book).
Common mistakes parents make when buying bikes for their kids (and how to avoid them)
A common mistake is getting a bike that’s too large or difficult to balance; balance bikes with training wheels, trikes (balance tricycles), and 3-wheeled balance bikes are usually the worst when it comes to this. The reason balance bikes work so well is because they’re designed in a way that makes balance very easy, so if you get something difficult to balance (which most 3-wheeled balance bikes are) then this will just make everything harder.
The benefits of using a balance bike over training wheels or other methods that teach biking skills
Balance bikes have a lot of benefits over other methods of teaching kids how to balance and ride a bike. FIrst, as the name suggets, they’re easy to balance on once you’ve gotten used to them, so balance bike riders tend to develop skills quickly (so, usually, there’s no need for training wheels or learning how to balance using a balance bike). Balance bikes for toddlers also teach them balance at slow speeds, so riders also learn how to balance while moving at slow speeds which then helps them gain the confidence to go faster.
So, a balance bike is a great choice if you want your child to develop these skills as quickly as possible, and, believe it or not, fitting training wheels is probably the worst way of teaching balance (because balance is learned at low speeds on balance bikes, whereas balance with training wheels is learned at high speed).
Parents (and sometimes children) are often concerned about using balance bikes with pedals because the rider can de-bike by pedaling back. But, balance bikes fitted with pedals actually teach balance very well because the rider can steer more easily by themselves and learn to balance as they pedal. This means that you’ll need to prevent your child from accidentally pedaling the balance bike, which is a lot harder than you would think but, once mastered your child will be able to do more, and learn new skills quicker. Balance bikes with pedals are very useful if you want your child to be able to pedal up hills, or when your kid gets tired of pedaling back if training wheels are fitted (which is a common occurrence). However, balance bike riders learn to steer themselves forward and balance while pedaling as fast as balance bike riders balance and pedal at the same time, which means balance bike riders learn balance while moving much faster than balance bike riders balance on a balance bike with training wheels.
If you’ve read this blog post, then I hope that it has helped make the process of purchasing a balance bike for your toddler easier and less stressful. There are many great brands to choose from, so don’t be afraid to do your research before making a purchase.
The last thing you want is for your child’s new toy not to work well or worse- break quickly! We’ve provided some links below in case you need more information on how to buy the right size or what kind of features should look out for when comparing models. Now its time to grab a great deal on your next balance bike!
Our Top Picks
Best Value Balance Bike For Kids
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Last update on 2021-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API