Learning to ride a trike – and then a bike in later childhood – is more important for children’s development than you might think. Riding comes with a whole range of benefits that go far beyond physical exercise – it helps little ones develop the skills and confidence they’ll need for later life. Here, we take a look at why it’s essential children are introduced to ride-on toys, as well as consider you can help them progress through trike riding and ensure their safety while doing so.
Contributing to more than just an active lifestyle
There’s every chance your little one will begin their cycling journey by the age of one with their first ride-on toy. While it’s a given that ride-on toys encourage physical activity and exercise, they actually help in so many other areas of development too. These little vehicles are fantastic for bringing on gross and fine motor skills, as children grasp the steering wheel, press buttons and explore compartments. Ride-on toys help foster independent play, as well as grow their confidence in group play and social situations. They also allow for exploration, which in turn contributes to their imagination and creativity.
As they become more confident walkers and are able to move around independently and freely, they’ll likely advance to a trike. This childhood tradition has remained popular through the generations – and it’s easy to see why. It progresses all the skills entrenched through play on their ride-on toy and helps them reach the next level of maturity and confidence. Plus, their coordination and balance will improve dramatically as they persevere in their quest to perfect riding on two wheels.
Tips for safety while riding
Riding – whether it’s a ride-on, a trike or a bike in later years – is great fun for little ones and it’s just as enjoyable for the parents or guardians teaching them. But there’s a more serious side to riding too and children should be fully clued up on how to stay safe on their trike. Consider these top tips for sensible riding once they’ve progressed to a trike:
Find a quiet place. For their first attempt at riding, take your child to a peaceful location that isn’t overrun with crowds. They might be nervous or wary at first and a large, quiet space should make it easier for them to learn and practice – even if it’s simply the back garden.
Teach the basics. Try to bear in mind that no learning is too basic at this stage. Children at 18 months old are discovering the world, unearthing new findings every day, so it’s a lot to expect them to understand the ins and outs of trike riding from this early age. Teach them exactly how to get on and off, that both hands should always be placed on the handle bar and that they should always remain seated on the saddle.
Ensure a smooth terrain. As your little one gets to grips with riding, make it as easy as possible for them and take them out on ground that’s free of gravel and without slopes. As they become more confident, they’ll master turns, manoeuvres and dips in the surface.
Dress little ones sensibly. Think carefully about what your child is wearing before heading out. Sturdy, closed-toe shoes are a necessity, while loose-fitting clothes should be avoided so there’s no chance of them getting caught.
Make it fun. Ensure their experience on the trike is as enjoyable as possible. Give them lots of encouragement and praise. Don’t put too much pressure on them and if they struggle, put the trike away and simply try again another day.
Get out in the fresh air and take the time to teach your child about the basics of riding and you’ll find it’s a hugely enjoyable experience and will help set your little one up with skills for life. Head over to our trikes range for more inspiration.