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Teaching a Child to Ride a Bike without Training Wheels | ABC Home Preschool Blog

Image by jonny.hunter

I remember when I was little and my mom taught me how to ride a bike without
training wheels. Actually, I remember it quite vividly. How can I not? I still
have a few scars on my knees to prove it.

My mom and I out in our back alley of my childhood home. Her running behind
me while holding me up and then all of a sudden I realize she is no longer hold
me up and I immediately panic and fall over.

I remember the fear I felt when I realized she wasn’t holding me up any longer.
I also remember me yelling at my mom in the most dramatic fashion when I blamed
her for me falling and hurting myself. But, what I remember most importantly
is thee feeling of accomplishment when I was able to ride on my own.


I know my mom taught me how to
ride my bike how most parents teach their children how to ride a bike.
My mom didn’t do anything wrong. After all, children learn by trial and
error. From falling I learned how to balance better. I learned what worked
and didn’t work. I learned that I didn’t want to fall anymore…. falling
hurt. But, I kept at it because I wanted so badly to ride my bike on my
… without training wheels.

I had decided that there must be another way to teach our children how to ride
a bike without training wheels
. I understood that my children needed to learn
balance. That in order to learn balance there must be some falling. But, I wanted
to teach my children how to do this with less injuries. And, I did just that.
How? By teaching my children the first few days how to ride bike on the grass.

On the grass? Yep.

Steps I used to Teach my Kids how to Ride Bike without Pain

  • I didn’t start them too early – They had to understand
    a bit of balance. They trained hard on Training wheels for some time. We also
    made sure to raise the training wheels every so often as they got use to them.
    By the time we removed them from our children’s bikes they were at the highest
    level possible and the kids were no longer relying on them for balance as

  • Started on the Grass - The first few days of training was
    spent on the grass. This way they were learn balance, but their falls would
    be much less painful… macadam hurts.

  • Slight Decline on Grass – My background seemed to be the
    perfect spot for the kids to learn how to ride bike. There was a very slight
    decline in the yard which gave them a little momentum without making them
    go to fast.

  • They Need to Know How to Brake – Before the training wheels
    come off the kids need to know how to brake. I practiced a long time with
    my children on breaking…. way before the training wheels come off. And,
    this is necessary. When the training wheels come off you will find that your
    kids will be concentrating so hard on balancing that they will occasionally
    forget the things they already learned. You don’t want them to have to worry
    about learning balancing and breaking at once.

  • Don’t expect too much – I went into this event know there
    would be some falls, some laughter and probably even some tears. And, that
    is exactly what happened. The day will have his challenges, but you will find
    more than that there will be ample rewards too.

  • Celebrate Even the Littlest of Things – This project is
    a true challenge for the kids. Not only is it difficult to learn, but it can
    be a bit scary for the kids. So, celebrate even the tiniest of advances. If
    they stayed up for 20 seconds celebrate it. Be a cheerleader for your child.

  • Inspect the Bike before Training -Make sure all the bolts
    are tightened and the chains are greased. This way the bike rides as smoothly
    as possible. Nothing will cause your child to be super scared of riding their
    bike than to have them fall due to a bolt coming loose. Do not skip this step!!

  • Tell them what you are doing through Every Step – I made
    sure to tell my children exactly what I was doing every step of the way. Don’t
    let go without your child knowing that was going to happen. My mom did that
    to me and the minute I saw she wasn’t holding me anymore…. I’d fall due
    to panic. Let your child know what you are doing right before you do it.

  • Reminder Child to Always Look Straight Ahead – This might
    seem obvious to us, but to a child it is not. You will find that your child
    will be tempted to look at their feet while they are pedaling or to look back
    to see if you are still holding them. Constantly remind your child to look
    straight ahead. Not only is this important so they don’t hit into anything,
    but this will help your child keep the bike balanced as well.

  • Hold your Child Correctly – When you are holding your child
    up and running behind them you will be tempted to hold them on the back of
    the seat and handle bars. But, your child will not be able to learn balancing
    well this way and it will be impossible for the child to learn how to steer
    as well. Make sure to hold your child up by holding the back of the bike seat
    and their shoulder or sweatshirt.

  • Dress your Child Well – Make sure that your child doesn’t
    wear anything that you don’t mind getting grass stained or torn. Plus, you
    want the less skin showing as possible. Long pant and a Sweat shirt work great.
    This way if they fall they will be less apt to get cuts and scrapes and be
    frightened to get back on.

Also, if you do not have a nice area of grass suitable for teaching your child
to ride a bike and must do it on macadam please make sure to have elbow and
knee pads. Plus, it is imperative that you don’t skip out on the helmet even
if you are riding on the grass. Any fall can cause head injury without the proper
protective gear.

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12 Responses to Teaching a Child to Ride a Bike without Training Wheels

  1. Elizabeth says:

    All I can say is.. awwwwww :)

  2. Lori says:

    Love this idea, Shana. I wish I had thought of it when I was teaching my son – he took some painful falls on the sidewalk. Also I think we started him too soon.

    With my daughter, we’re going to take our time and not rush her – and use the grass, too :)

  3. TheNanny612 says:

    @Elizabeth – Thanks…I’m glad you enjoyed it. :)

    @Lori – Honestly, I love using the grass to teach children to ride their bikes. That’s how we taught Austin (now 13) too. Not all grassy back yards are ideal, but one just cut, tiny decline and few bumps is perfect. Even if they tumble they are less apt to get hurt and more inclined to keep pushing at it with fewer tears. That’s a win-win for everybody. Good luck with your daughter. :)

  4. Leroy Latty says:

    Two days ago I looked at our freshly cut grass that seemed cut to a perfect carpet pile, thanks to our kind neighbor and my thoughts rushed back some twenty five years to the perfectly cut lawn of a golf course where I learned to ride a bike. We pushed the bikes to the top of a mound. I mounted and my cousin pushed and I remembered my feet automatically pedalling at the bottom of the hill. I got instant balance from the momentum, I was injected with courage and confidence and the rest is history. Thanks for your blog and the confirmation that our precious ground and grass serve this purpose of helping our children to master a life long skill.

  5. wallaby says:

    Better yet use a balance bike or just remove the pedals, crank and chain from a regular bike and let the child scoot and blance on it until they are confident. They learn to balance this way and moving to a bike with pedals is a piece of cake.

    It is a very popular method in the UK and Europe and does not require you to actually go through the problems of teaching (and falling). My oldest son used to just pick up speed by scooting and he’d then just glide down small slopes with his feet up. Whe he got a “real” bike when he was four it was a cinch. He was off and riding in a couple minutes.

    Here are a couple US places that sell balance bikes (but like I said, just take off the cranks, pedals and chain yourself if you want to):




    and here is the newer version of the one we got in the uk (youngest now using it successfully!): http://www.islabikes.co.uk/bike_pages/rothan.html

  6. Jennifer says:

    This is indeed a brilliant idea, Shana. So simple yet something that never crossed my mind, lol.
    I got a huge backyard and I will make sure to make good use of it. Grass stained clothes beats blood stained ones! :-)
    Thanks for sharing that.

  7. Mark says:

    Hey, great read !! We taught my son at 2 1/2, believe it or not. He wanted to try because his cousin who had just turned 4 learned how to. We pushed him around the house, letting go for a few seconds here and there. Ater about 30 mins he could ride. He was too little to reach the ground enough to stop without falling overthough. lol So I would stand at one end of the driveway,and my wife on the other. That was at my parents, out of state. Our house has a big hill. So he didnt get to ride at all for a long time. Now he’s 4 and needs training wheels again. You may want edit “break” to “brake”.

  8. Ginger says:

    Great idea, I was wanting to teach my 3 yr old son to ride a bike without training wheels period. That’s the way they learned in the old days before they invented the training wheels and I didn’t know about a balance bike or that you could teach them without all the stuff on a reg. bike. Wonder if he is too young to teach right now. We sure don’t have an ideal yard though. I guess we could try to find someone who does. I sure don’t want him falling down on the street or the sidewalk that’s just not safe enough on our street. We could go to a park maybe and do it. Thanks for the ideas. We do have a bike for him but his legs are a bit short for it right now but in a year yeah he might be big enough to learn then. But I don’t want to wait too long to teach him while he is in the window of learning stage for everything they say the best window of learning is from birth to about 5 that’s when the learn the best and the easiest. Any way with learning like reading and such not sure that applies to this or not. Well, thanks again. Ginger :)

  9. Evhen says:

    I’ll second the comment about using a balance bike. Both of my sons taught themselves to ride on their own using balance bikes! You can get more info and see videos of toddlers riding balance bikes (with no training wheels) at http://squidoo.com/learntorideabike

  10. Leanne says:

    Totally second the balance bike. My 3 yr old got one for his third birthday. Within a week he was scooting around it faster than I can walk. Now at 3.5 he is so confident he puts both feet up and glides for 20-30 feet and then just puts his foot down when he stops, like a motorcycle rider. He also is showing he can balance with just one hand steering! Ours is a Miniglider. There is a comparison site at http://runbikes.com that shows all the wooden and metal ones available. Ours is red metal with a handbrake, footpegs and solid tires (no air! no chains! no mechanical parts!) My son totally loves to be using a 2 wheeler like a big boy, and I think he is ready for pedals.

  11. Joy Anderson says:

    Your post is great! It gives me an idea how to teach my 5-year old son to ride a bike.

    Thanks for sharing it.


  12. Eric says:

    My two sons developed their balance on scooters. They played with their scooters for at least two years and ride bikes with training wheels for about three. When they were ready to take off the training wheels on their bikes, I only had to run behind them for less than a minute each. I think it’s important not to push them too early. When they are ready to take off the training wheels, they will let you know.

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