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Cycling for Kids

Cycling is a life skill that will not be forgotten once mastered. It is an advance motor skill that involves the integration of several motor skills, such as balance, left-right, hand-eye and leg-eye coordination. Repeated practice reinforces these skills to form a ‘cycling program’ which is stored in the brain, and to be retrieved when required. That is why some skill, such as swimming and cycling, will ‘never’ be forgotten.

A child can be introduced to his first bike as early as 2 years of age. This is the age where the child is perfecting basic motor skills and combining them together to accomplish complicated motor task. To learn cycling, this complex task is broken down into basic components during the initial stages, such as balancing, pedaling and steering. As the child gets better at the individual motor skill,  they are combined together. Through trial and error with repeated failure, adjustment and perfecting of motor skills, the child will finally be able to ride a bicycle on ‘auto-pilot’ mode.

Transition from a tricycle to a bicycle can be difficult. In fact, some people never achieve it. There are some suggestions to make transition easier from a tricycle to a bicycle. These include elevating the training wheels further from the ground such that the child will learn to balance on 2 wheels of the bike momentarily without tipping over. Another method, (in my opinion) which is more fun and successful, is to introduce the child to kids training bike as their very first bike. Kids training bike is a kid size bicycle without pedals. Some manufactures do have models of different levels of difficulty (from broader wheels with increased stability, to thin wheels which demands high level of balance skill). Below is a video on how these kids training bike works. The ‘fun’ factor of these training bikes is important on reinforcing practice. With the balance skill conquered, learning how to pedal is usually a breeze (wearing of safety gear applies when the child is on the training bike).

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There are also toys in the market to help a child learn how to pedal. Stationary bike is a great tool to teach a child how to pedal, without the need for parent to manually guide the pedal and chasing after a moving bike at the same time (which can cause serious strain on the parent’s back!). It is especially great for child with coordination problem who need to learn the pedaling component and balance component separately. The stationary bike is also great for children who need to shed some weight, to improve cardiovascular health and fitness.

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Cycling is a great life skill to master. With the aid of new products such as training bikes, learning how to cycle will be much easier for the parent and child.

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Disclaimer: The information and advice contained in or made available through this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the services of a health professional or to be a substitute for medical advice of physicians.

Gross Motor Milestone (12-18months)

At 12 months

At 12 months, your child may take his very first independent step.  Independent walking is a very important milestone. It represents a new phase of the child’s development, being independent from caregiver and able to explore new things on his own that used to be out of reach. With the new found skill, he will be a more confident baby. He will be constantly challenging his walking and balance skills on different terrians and falling occasionally. It is definitely alright to fall, as no baby can learn how to walk without falling.

As walking balance improves, your child will be able to multitask. He will be able to walk and hold his favourite toy at the same time. He will also be learning to lower himself from standing into sitting position with increasing control.

At 18 months

Your child has been perfecting the basic gross motor skills for the past 18 months and is now ready for more advance skills. He will be able to climb up the staircase with assistance, a step at a time. He will be able to kick a ball in standing, although with a poor sense of direction. He will be able to walk fast, and attempting to run. This is the age that you can introduce your child to a tricycle, or a balance bike.

18 months is usually considered the cut off month for a child learning to walk independently. If your child is still not walking independently at this stage, you may want to seek an expert opinion on your child’s motor development.

  • Gross Motor Milestone Brochure

Disclaimer: The information and advice contained in or made available through this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the services of a health professional or to be a substitute for medical advice of physicians.
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