Has your little baby started walking and learning? Now, you must be thinking of getting the baby a ride. But the main concern is whether your little superstar is ready for it or not. It brings me to the question, when do toddlers learn to ride a tricycle?
Babies can start learning pedaling at the age of 12 to 24 months. Toddlers learn to steer at the age of 2 and ride tricycles independently at the age of 3. Children aged 4 should have no problem riding a tricycle, and kids older than 5 can ride bicycles.
Now the question is, is your toddler ready to ride a tricycle? It is essential to know everything in detail as it is related to the toddler’s safety. Stay with me till the end as I explain when do toddlers learn to ride tricycles and why it is important for them to do so. In the end, I will also share some tips for teaching your toddler to ride a tricycle.
Developmental milestones of babies and toddlers
Before you understand when toddlers can ride a tricycle, you should know their development process. Knowing when your baby is ready to stand, walk, run, and drive is essential.
Here are a few developmental milestones for babies and toddlers:
- Sit and balance: Babies start to learn to balance their bodies and sit between 6 to 8 months of age. They also start developing crawling skills after they learn to sit.
- Walking and running: Then, between 9 to 8 months, babies learn to pull themselves up and stand alone. Soon after that, they start walking between ages 12 months to 18 months. Once they learn to walk well, they also start to develop running skills.
- Gross motor skills: Although babies start developing motor skills from age 2 months, their ability improves during 12 to 18 months. They become toddlers and can hold and move large objects. Now, you may try to teach them to hold tricycle handles and try to pedal.
From the developmental stages, we can see that first, the babies need to start crawling and walking. Then you may start teaching them the basics of riding a tricycle. But they are not ready yet.
When do toddlers learn to ride a tricycle: The learning phases
Giving your toddler a tricycle directly and asking them to ride is not a good idea. It is better to make them familiar with various riding skills first. Then they can ride the tricycle comfortably when ready.
I have divided the learning phases into three parts. If you follow this process, your toddler may learn to ride a tricycle earlier than others.
Here are three phases of learning to ride a tricycle for toddlers:
Phase 1: Pedaling (1-2 years)
When do toddlers learn to pedal a tricycle? Between ages 1 to 2 years, toddlers improve their motor skills significantly. It is the perfect time to teach them how to pedal tricycles.
However, some kids are ready earlier, while others are a little bit slow. Hence, I recommend putting them on tricycles for pedaling between 15 to 18 months.
Safety precaution: This is the first step towards learning to ride a tricycle, and the toddler may not have a good balance. Hence, try to hold or provide some support to your toddler while they are trying to pedal.
Remember that the toddler may not be able to pedal properly now and that is okay. The main benefit here is that the process will strengthen your toddler’s muscles and also boost their confidence.
Phase 2: Steering (2-3 years)
When toddlers are 2 years old, they should have enough strength to push the pedal with their feet. But they will find it to steer.
Toddlers learn to steer tricycles between ages 2 to 3 years. Now, they have a better combination of feet and hand movement. They can pedal and steer in different directions simultaneously.
However, it may take some time to develop the steerings properly. Give them a larger training area. It will allow them to move freely and have enough opportunities to grow their steering skills.
Phase 3: Riding (3+ years)
At what age do toddlers learn to ride a tricycle? By the time the toddlers reach age 3, they should have learned to ride tricycles independently.
It feels so good when your toddler is no more a baby and can ride their tricycles without any help. Now, you can let the little ones play with their tricycles in the backyard or other safe places.
However, it is still risky to let them play on the roads. You can let the children go outside when they are 4 years or older. Besides, you may even give the kids a bicycle when they are 5 years old.
Tricycle-riding readiness of toddlers
However, more factors other than age determine when does a child learn to ride a tricycle. While the average age for riding a tricycle is 3, some may develop the skill in 2.5 years. Then again, some kids start learning to ride tricycles at the age of 4 or 5 years.
Then how do you know your toddler is ready to ride a tricycle?
You can observe the little star’s activities and determine whether they are ready for riding.
Some of the factors that determine a toddler’s readiness to ride tricycles are:
- Physical readiness: First, the baby must have physical readiness to ride a tricycle. It is essential they have enough strength to pedal and enough grip to hold the handle strongly. If you see your baby kicking footballs and holding larger toys comfortably, that means they are physically ready for the task.
- Cognitive readiness: The toddlers must also have cognitive ability. It means they should be able to observe their surroundings, learn and remember things, etc. If you teach your baby to throw balls and later they do it without even telling, that means they are learning and have cognitive readiness.
- Emotional readiness: Lastly, toddlers should also be emotionally ready to ride a tricycle. You should never force them to ride if they are scared to sit on a cycle. First, put the baby on a tricycle and observe the reaction. If they feel scared, delay the training, or if they feel comfortable, start teaching them how to ride a tricycle.
If your toddler passes all of these three factors, that means they are ready to ride. But if not, then do not force them. Give them some time, and they will get comfortable with the cycle over time.
Why is it important for toddlers to learn how to ride tricycles?
Some of you may think tricycles for toddlers are just for fun and time pass. But the fact is, learning to ride a tricycle offers numerous benefits.
7 benefits for toddlers to learn how to ride tricycles are:
1. Physical development
Riding tricycles helps toddlers to strengthen muscles, improve coordination skills, and balance better. It promotes physical activity and keeps kids fit.
2. Cognitive development
Children learn to navigate and explore their surroundings while riding tricycles. It helps them to improve their cognitive learning.
As soon as your toddler learns to ride a tricycle alone, they will have a sense of independence. They will not rely on others to do anything new. It makes them self-dependent as they grow and become a kid.
Riding tricycles can be more fun when a group of toddlers is together. If you let them play together in their tricycles, it will also improve their social skills as they learn to communicate, share, and enjoy themselves with others.
5. Outdoor activity
Riding tricycles allows your children to participate in outdoor activities. It is beneficial for both their mental and physical health. Such activities improve their self-esteem and make them more aware of their limitations and challenges.
6. Develops curiosity
Learning to ride a tricycle makes toddlers curious about their tricycles, which helps to develop their curiosity. Besides, it encourages exploration as they safely roam their surroundings.
7. Prepare for bicycles
Lastly, giving your children a tricycle at an earlier age also helps them prepare for bicycles. If they already know how to ride a tricycle, they will find it easier to ride bicycles.
Tips for teaching toddlers to ride a tricycle
You may face a lot of challenges when trying to teach your toddler how to ride a tricycle. For instance, they may fear that they can fall, and they may fail to balance or coordinate. Besides, some toddlers feel a lack of interest in learning to ride a tricycle.
As riding tricycles comes with many benefits, you must try to encourage and help your toddlers learn.
Here are some tips for teaching toddlers to ride a tricycle:
- Choosing the right tricycle: It is essential to choose a tricycle that toddlers find comfortable to ride. The toddler’s feet should reach the ground. Besides, ensure the seat is comfortable and safe.
- Preparing the environment: Try to choose a larger area while teaching your toddler how to ride a tricycle. It will enable them to ride freely.
- Encouraging and motivating the toddler: Keep motivating your toddlers while they are riding. Even if they find it tough or fall, encourage them to try again.
- Supervising the toddler while riding: When your toddler is learning to ride, you should always supervise them to prevent accidents. You can let them play on their own when they have enough skill to ride alone.
When do babies learn to ride a tricycle?
It is too early for babies to learn to ride a tricycle before the age of 1 year. Instead, they can learn to walk using walkers. When the babies are older than one year and learn to balance and walk, they can start learning to ride tricycles.
What kind of bike is better for your toddler to learn on a tricycle or two wheeler?
A tricycle is a better choice for your toddler than a two-wheeler. It enables the little rider to develop pedaling and steering skills. However, some parents also prefer two-wheelers or balance bikes. They are good for learning to balance for babies aged 1 to 2 years.
When do kids learn to ride a tricycle?
Kids of age 5 or older are adults enough to learn to ride bicycles. Tricycles are good for toddlers. But a kid has better balance and more strength to handle a bicycle.
I have tried to explain how old a toddler is when learning a tricycle. However, always remember that not all kids are the same. Some will grow their learning ability later than others. Observe your toddler first and buy them a tricycle when you think they are ready.