Do you remember the satisfaction of riding a bike for the first time? Your parent may have held onto the bike and run behind you until you were ready to try on your own. If you remember that feeling, you want your own child to experience the same thing. These are some of the top tips for teaching your kids to ride a bike.

Before you take your child out to ride their bike, you may want to keep a few things in mind:

  • Make learning to ride their bike fun. If it’s not fun, they’ll want to quit.
  • Wait until your child tells you they’re ready. You may be excited to get them on the path to two-wheeled adventures, but they may not be so sure just yet. Let them set the pace.
  • Be sure you have a safe, level place for them to learn. Take them where there’s no traffic and the area is large, flat and paved.Have the necessary safety equipment – helmet, knee and elbow pads – and ensure they’re worn properly.

Has your child mastered riding a tricycle or bike with training wheels? Have they asked you to remove the training wheels so they can ride like a big boy or girl? This will probably happen around the time your child turns five or six, but don’t push them.

Remove the training wheels and lower the seat until your child can sit comfortably with their legs straight and place their feet on the ground. This will enable them to put their feet on the ground if they start teetering or losing balance. Be sure the tires are properly inflated.

Have your child scoot with their bike, keeping their feet on the ground. When they become more comfortable, ask them to coast on their bike by picking their feet up. As they grow more confident in their coasting skills, they’ll soon be ready to begin turning.

While coasting, help your child turn the handlebars to make big, easy turns. Set a cracker 10 feet in front of them and ask them to run over it. This teaches them to scan ahead to avoid things in their path. Before long they’ll be ready to start pedaling.

Raise the seat a little and while holding onto the back of the bike, let your child start from a stopped position. Have them put one foot on the ground and one foot on the pedal. Tell them to press down on the pedal and put their foot on the other pedal. Continue to help them balance slightly, but let them do most of the balancing.

Continue to hold the bike to stabilize them while they slowly pedal the bike. Teach them to brake by placing a foot on the ground or using a handle brake if their bike has it. Allow them to ride slowly until they are comfortable enough to pick up speed.

Once they’ve mastered riding without help, you may want to get the family together for a bike ride in the park. Take things slow and reinforce what your child has learned – making wide curves and watching in front of them – so they’ll be ready to ride on their own.

Teach your child the rules of the road when it comes to riding bikes. Wear brightly colored clothing, ride in order to keep control of the bike and be able to brake, ride a safe distance from other bikers, and look both ways before going into the sidewalk from the driveway.