What if we told you that the best balance bike is one you already have in your garage? Learn more!
The weather is about to break here in the northeastern United States and the first thing my kids want to do when the weather warms up is pull their bikes out of the garage. As soon as summer hits, they will hop on them early in the morning and be out and about in the neighborhood most of the day.
My oldest learned to ride her two-wheeled bike at the age of 5. My middle was a little quicker and independently riding a two wheeler at 4 (she had to keep up with her sister!). And my youngest, my daredevil, skipped the Big Wheel and went straight to the tiniest little two-wheeler I had ever seen at just over the age of 3.5. None of my kids used a balance bike.
Is a Balance Bike Really Necessary?
As a physical therapist, I definitely see the benefits of a balance bike and even suggested one in a previous post on helping your child learn to ride a bike. But, as I debated with a frugal parent recently, are they necessary?
I am going to say no.
Balance bikes are costly and add yet another piece of equipment to your already overflowing garage. As your child quickly progresses through a Big Wheel to a traditional tricycle to a bike with training wheels to a balance bike and finally to the bike without training wheels, you may feel increasingly claustrophobic as you walk through the area that your car once occupied.
The Best Balance Bike
What if I said that the two wheeled bike you bought your daughter for her birthday is enough?
The brilliant part about those two wheeled bikes is that the pedals come off. It might be a little tricky as they are threaded backwards and a 10mm wrench is usually needed, but you can do it! Instantly, you have your own balance bike without another penny spent.
Using a Balance Bike
Take a few days and have your child practice striding with his legs (think giant steps while sitting on the seat) and gliding (gradually working on the length of time between strides) until he feels comfortable with getting his feet off of the ground during movement.
One thing to think about — balance bikes are typically closer to the ground which lowers the center of gravity and makes balancing easier. If you are taking the pedals off of a two wheeled bike and trying this method, be sure to lower the seat all the way down and be sure that she can comfortably sit with her feet on the ground with some bend in her knees.
Once your child is successful and comfortable with her balance, reattach the pedals and send her on her way!
How about you? Did you use a balance bike with your kids? Leave us a comment below!