Here’s how to use Training Wheels to teach kids to ride a bicycle.
Introduction to Training WheelsYou get bicycle for kids that come with a set of training wheels. While as parents you may think that bikes for kids ought to have training wheels, its often not the best way to teach a child to ride a bicycle (read more on balanced bikes here).
The biggest advantage of training wheels is that it gives a child the confidence to try to learn to ride a bike.
So training wheels give confidence to kids so that they can start learning to ride.
It’s also reassuring for parents, if they are trying to teach their kids to ride.
Problems with Training Wheels
These also have a few downsides:
- The child is going to take longer to learn to ride a bicycle.
- A bike with training wheels is riskier for the child as opposed to a tricycle because of the increased height (trikes are much shorter in height). A bike going faster can topple over while taking sharp turns.
Make sure, you lower the height of the seat as it will allow the child to sit deeper into the wheels and will feel safer (if they can touch the ground with their feet)
- While turning, weight of the bike shifts from the rear wheel to the outside training wheel, reducing the braking power of the rear wheel.
Training wheels don’t actually teach a child how to ride a bike, because the kids don’t learn how to balance (there is a right way to use the training wheel). Riding a bike with training wheels is also wobbly and awkward for the child, if the wheel is too low (and if the child has not learnt how to balance).
Often, kids have a frustrating time transitioning from training wheels to “without-training wheels”.
Right Way to Use Training Wheels
Even with the training wheels attached, a bike should always have a little bit of lean; there should be a small amount of tilt from one side to the other.
Are the training wheels supposed to touch the ground? Not really! These are meant ‘to stabilize’ and not really meant to convert the bike into a quad. So the training wheels should ideally not touch the ground at the same time.
Once the child is accustomed to pedaling, steering and braking, you should raise the training wheels (a bit at a time). And its best not to tell your little one about this, and not do this task in front of him/her as they can object or throw tantrums.
When the training wheels are raised, the bike will tilt more (become more tippy) which will encourage the child to learn to balance. Gradually, the child will learn how to balance and the training wheels will be off the ground most of the time.
Once the child has become adept at balancing the training wheels can be removed. When the training wheels are off, ensure your little one can touch the ground with the feet as it is much more reassuring. You may increase the sear later on, once your child is able to ride the bicycle with confidence.