Teaching bike riding to kids is a rite of passage for both parent and child. Bike riding is an important skill that comes with a wide range of developmental benefits for all children. Beyond a few scraped knees, learning to ride a bike provides children with independence, confidence, and physical and mental strength. Once mastered, bike riding is a skill that stays with your child for their lifetime.
It’s easy to understand how cycling benefits the physical health of children. It builds leg strength, cardiovascular stamina and even helps builds bone density. Through our occupational therapy lens, we encourage bike riding for both typical and atypically developing children. Cycling promotes balance, gross motor skills, and coordination — all skills that make sports and all of life’s other activities easier to learn and participate in successfully.
Each summer, AZ+A offers Bike Intensives to help children learn to ride a bike with confidence. Please complete this inquiry form to let us know you are interested, and we will contact you to schedule an intensive.
There are many reasons how learning to ride a bike benefits the mental health of children. Here are a few to consider:
1. Bike riding pure is fun
Learning to ride a bike is one of life’s simple things that is both fun and fulfilling. After the cycle is purchased, it is a free activity that can be enjoyed as a family and with friends. Whether it is in one of Chicago’s family-friendly parks or on neighborhood sidewalks, bike riding connects children socially while boosting self-esteem and joy.
2. Biking increases focus
Studies show that students who ride their bikes to school arrive more focused than their driven peers. Endorphins, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin are some of the many neurotransmitters released when you exercise. These brain chemicals play an essential part in regulating your mood and link exercise to increased happiness and focus.
3. Cycling benefits kids’ learning
Riding a bike benefits your child’s learning development as a full-body sensory activity that includes visual stimulation. Children learn to pay attention and focus on the task at hand, especially if a potential fall is imminent. Learning to ride a bike also offers children an opportunity to practice their communication skills–listening to directions, asking for help, and celebrating success.
4. A family that rides together is resilient together
It doesn’t have to be bike riding, but the more activities you do as a family, the more connected you become. Cycling is an outdoor activity that all ages can enjoy together–even grandparents can get in on the action. This past year has taught us how important it is to be a family that can handle a few bumps in the road. What better way to learn than to cycle as a family?
5. Green is good
Children are learning about the environment at an early age these days. Enter the most accessible form of environmentally friendly transportation other than our own two feet — the bike. Teaching our kids that bike riding benefits both their health and the health of our environment gives them two great reasons to keep riding throughout their lifetime.
6. Help them feel safe
Helmet? √ Kneepads √ Lights √ Bells√ Reflectors √
Bike riding requires safety equipment, a bit more for younger riders. Learning how to keep themselves safe and feeling protected by you as they prepare for each new journey reinforces a feeling of safety. There’s always a risk of falling off or crashing into something when riding a bike, especially when you first start. Knowing there are steps you can take to protect yourself, reduce risk, and minimize injury is a vital bike riding lesson that carries over to other uncertain or uncomfortable areas of life. Bike riding lessons far surpass the two wheels and handlebars. Get started today!