It’s not just in Ottawa that bike shop owners and employees will give you many reason why kids should learn to ride a bike—and I can tell you it’s not for the purpose of making more sales either. Learning to ride a bike is considered to be a key developmental milestone for any child.
It’s true that it’s never too late to learn how to ride a bike, but it’s also true that it’s a lot easier to learn when you’re a kid and it’s a skill that will stay with you and benefit you for the rest of your life. Here are a few reasons why we think it’s important for kids in Ottawa, and anywhere, to learn to ride a bike early.
It helps develop their motor skills and coordination
Of course as with most physical activities, learning to ride a bike comes with a few bumps and bruises. But, learning to balance, steer, and pedal all at the same time has huge impacts on a child’s motor skill development which can be transferred to other activities as they grow. Starting them off on push bikes and striders when their old enough helps them with balance and makes for an easy transition to training wheels and pedals.
It teaches responsibility
Riding and owning a bike isn’t always simple, it comes with a lot of responsibility like keeping it clean, properly stored, and locked up when it needs to be. It can also be a great way to teach your kid basic mechanic skills when something is broken.
With the responsibility of owning and riding a bike also comes the independence and freedom. As your kid gets older, they won’t need to rely on parents for getting around short distances and the positive attitude that comes with this independence will be carried on through their other activities.
It provides many mental health benefits
It’s been proven in studies around the world that children who ride their bikes to school or who ride regularly are more focused and alert in the classroom than their non-bike-riding counterparts. Learning and continuing to ride a bike can also be a huge confidence booster which positively impacts children’s mental attitude for the rest of their lives.
It teaches them to be active
The truth is, nowadays, less and less kids are playing outside, getting fresh air, and staying active. Technology is becoming more and more accessible to children and it’s taking over their interests, their attention spans, and forming bad habits. Cycling is an easy way to spend time as a family while staying active. Not to mention that the impact of kids seeing the people they look up to stay active by riding helps them establish healthy exercise habits early on.
It will help them be environmentally friendly
Sure the rise of viral videos and campaigns around bettering the environment teaches kids about the impacts of our actions as a population. But, teaching them to ride a bike shows them how they can have a positive impact on the planet themselves. Using cycling as transportation helps reduce CO2 emissions and pollution, but also reduces traffic and parking congestion. Putting your kids into an environmental mindset early on is imperative to helping communities become more green.