How to give your child a head start with a balance bike

So you want your tot to be the next Danny MacAskill? What better way to start them out in life learning the fine art of balance than with a balance bike. All of life is a balance, right? There is work-life balance, costs & benefits, pro & cons, etc. But to actually learn these skills takes practice. Young minds love experiences and trying new things – after all, all of life is new to them! On a balance bike, they develop those fine motor skills and confidence they will use later in life, whether they become yoga instructors or X-Game superstars. So what is a balance bike? Well basically it’s a bike without pedals. You see, using training wheels is just a crutch, and forces a child to learn bad habits. When you take them off, they still don’t know how to balance and they must unlearn all the bad habits. This wastes a lot of time getting them up to speed! What is the hardest part of learning to ride a bike? Is it the pedaling or the balancing? Did your father have to show you how to press on the pedals, or did he have to hold you up so you wouldn’t fall on your tush? I thought so. Not only that, but if you want to teach a toddler how to ride a bike, their little legs just aren’t strong enough to push on pedals at all! They can barely stand up on their own, let alone provide enough torque to propel a bike fast enough that it won’t fall over. On a balance bike, it’s practically impossible to fall. If they start to lean, all they have to do is stand up! That won’t keep them from trying to fall of course, so it’s best to always give them a helmet too.

If you are now thinking of the best balance bike to get for your budding adventurer, then you have to decide the type of balance bike. Do you want a durable one that you can pass to your younger children? Do you want the coolest design? Do you want one that will grow with them and be highly adjustable? Well they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. Most of them are 12″ for toddlers around 2 years old. I bet that was younger than when you learned to ride! They come in metal, plastic, and wood. The metal bikes then come in sturdy steel, or lightweight aluminum. The plastic bikes can be cheap, brittle Chinese plastic or high-tech composites that flex and would probably last 10,000 years after an apocalypse. The wood bikes are usually made from eco-friendly sustainable farmed birch wood. How do you stop without coaster brakes? Some bikes come with a hand brake, just like big kid bikes. This is especially useful for hilly areas. Not so much for flat Florida. The tires then come in both air tires and a hard foam rubber. Air tires are traditional and useful for all terrains, but the newer rubber foam is great for busy parents without time for maintenance.

After you settle on the type of bike and assemble it, you can pretty much leave your little one to their own devices as they play and learn on their new toy. This is great for free range parents like me who have things to attend to. Pretty soon as they develop their confidence they will be going faster and faster, then lifting their little legs up to glide as far as they can. It’s a thrill to see them so thrilled. Even after they master the art of balancing, they still love to ride it around just for fun. It sure beats carrying them. Showing them they can accomplish a skill on their own only encourages them to learn new skills, even skills they may have thought were out of their reach. Since they know they have learned riding a bike on their own, they know they can learn to overcome any new challenge life throws at them.

You can purchase a balance bike from