Parents of children with special needs know how challenging it can often be to find activities that will help them to develop socially, emotionally, and physically. Learning to ride a pedal bike can be particularly difficult for some children with special needs, but balance bikes have been making it easier. Balance bikes are lightweight kids bikes and according to the experts at Woom, they are particularly beneficial when it comes to teaching children with special needs to ride.
How Balance Bikes Benefit Children with Special Needs
Learning to operate a balance bike helps with the development of both fine- and gross motor skills. One of the first skills that children learn on a balance bike is how to steer it. Using the handlebars and brakes, if applicable, will help to develop fine motor skills while balancing and steering helps with the development of gross motor skills.
For all children, and particularly those with special needs, learning how to ride a balance bike will improve their confidence and give them a sense of freedom and independence. Riding alone, even if parents are nearby, helps to boost a child’s confidence and self-esteem.
Moreover, learning how to ride a bike means that children with special needs can get out and become social with other kids who are also learning to tide. The act of riding a bike helps children to make friends and develop their social skills.
Picking a Balance Bike for Your Child
Choosing the right balance bike for your child is especially important, but even more so for a child with special needs. Getting it right the first time around could be the difference between your child loving or hating this activity.
Whatever bike you choose, it should be light enough for your child to handle. Lightweight kids’ bikes help with steering and maneuverability. You will need to take your child’s physical abilities into consideration and look for a bike that will provide adequate support. Some balance bikes have been particularly designed for use by children with special needs. They will have larger tires that make balancing easier.
The best way to find a balance bike for your child is to take him to a local bike store and speak to one of the assistants. They should be able to measure your child and match him to a suitable balance bike, taking his height, weight, and physical ability into consideration.
Showing Your Child How to Ride the Bike
As with any child, parental guidance is important when it comes to learning how to ride a balance bike. Nevertheless, with a child who has special needs, parents can make it easier by showing them videos of other children riding similar balance bikes before they attempt to do it themselves for the first time.
Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool when it comes to teaching your child how to use the balance bike. Show him how to hold the bike in between his legs and have him sit on the seat. Encourage him to walk the bike forward, either standing or sitting at the same time. Praise him as he moves the bike. When your child has learned how to move the bike forward and can do this confidently, you can encourage him to start lifting his feet to learn how to balance.
It can be more challenging to teach new skills to children with special needs, but it is certainly not impossible. Furthermore, when it comes to learning how to cycle, balance bikes can be powerful tools. They help children with special needs to develop socially, emotionally, and physically and can make the transition to a pedal bike easier.