Riding a Bike

Bahar Youdai, OTR/L - June 15, 2020

One suggestion highlighted on our Recess blog is going for a bike ride in your neighborhood or around the living room! Riding a bike is a great way for your little one to get the movement his or her body needs, whether a balance bike, a bike with training wheels, or a bike without training wheels. 

For some children, learning this new skill is super exciting and for others it can be a little scary! Talk to your kids about the importance of safety, such as wearing a helmet and designating safe areas of the backyard or driveway to practice. You can also spend time teaching your little one how to break a fall! We have a reflex called protective extension, which is the reason we put our arms out to catch ourselves when we stumble or trip. Not all kids automatically do this when experiencing an unexpected fall. You can practice falling with your child using a low bed or couch with cushions for support.

Riding a bike helps your child develop lots of skills! Here are just a few:

  • Bilateral coordination: This is the ability to use both sides of the body in a controlled way. Pedaling or advancing a push bike requires rhythmical coordination of both legs.
  • Postural control and balance: Postural control is the ability to stabilize your trunk and engage your core. Biking requires continual postural adjustments in order to maintain balance!
  • Motor planning: Riding a bike might be easy for us as adults, but there are many steps when breaking it down for a child! Motor planning is the ability to remember and perform steps in order to carry out a movement. 

The best bike suited for your child depends on age, height, and skill level! Check out Retrospec for products that we love for any stage and age of your little one’s biking journey. Provide your child with support as they learn each step so that they are not overwhelmed. Most importantly, have fun with the process! You can create mini obstacle courses using any household items (i.e. food cans, cups, tape) and your imagination to travel through your favorite places. Remember to keep it playful and silly! Learning to ride a bike is a memory every parent and child cherishes!