Challenges Children Face when Learning How to Cycle

There is always a fear of the “first time” of everything, whether it will turn out well or not, is it a success or a failure. That includes when children are learning to cycle for the first time, it can be very daunting for them. If they are reluctant to continue their cycling lessons, they might be showing early signs of stress and anxiety that will affect their performance. Here are 5 common challenges that contribute to a resistant learning experience we see in children when they are learning how to cycle:

  1. Inherent gross motor skills

    To start off, these are some questions to ask yourself about your child, to have a general outlook of their abilities in whole-body movements:

    · Do they have exposure to general physical activities like running, swimming, climbing, or jumping?
    · Do they exercise regularly, or are they generally sedentary?
    · Are they able to follow instructions well and translate those instructions to actual physical movements?

Some kids are unable to do so, as they are not used to moving their body in a certain way or in a specific
sequence. This is a possibility of underdeveloped motor skills.

  1. Exposure to contraptions

    Comfortable bicycle handling skills is the foundation your child should be open to having, to ensure a confident learning experience on their bicycles. Have you observed their comfort level on a bicycle? Here are some factors that contribute to their level of familiarity on the bicycle:

    · Time spent on a bicycle or tricycle
    · Time spent on bicycles with stabilizers or balance only bicycles
    · Have they tried in-line skating or kick scooter before learning how to cycle?

  2. Suitability of the environment

    Learning is always best conducted in the right environment. Always take into consideration if the environment is fit for your child’s cycling lessons. Ask yourself these questions, when choosing the right location for your child.

    · Is the location crowded or empty?
    · Is the location a quiet or bustling and noisy space?
    · Is the location free from distractions? (For e.g., other people learning how to cycle, as your child might feel pressure because they fear looking “bad” in front of others.)
    · Is the location safe to ride on? (For e.g., is it a flat surface like a cycling/walking path, or a rough surface like a rocky and unstable path?)
    · Is the location indoors or outdoors? (If it is outdoors, it might be too sunny for them to focus on cycling)

  3. Performance pressure

    All parents want the best for their children, to be able to cycle smoothly and confidently outside, but you might be unwittingly pressuring your child to perform their best at their learning stage. Life skills such as swimming take months to master yet is your child expected to balance and cycle in 20 minutes? Are you a result-oriented parent or a process-oriented parent? Remember to give your child space, while encouraging them to pick themselves up if they fall or praising them when they have managed the basics of cycling – balancing, steering, braking, cycling from one end to the other.

  4. Identifying a child’s inherent way of learning

    The acronym VARK stands for Visual, Aural, Read/write, and Kinesthetic sensory modalities that are used for learning information. Use observation or if possible, the VARK questionnaire to identify how your child learns, everyone has a different way or preference of learning. From the results, you can customize your child’s cycling learning experience for a more effective and comfortable lesson.

At Cycling School SG, we have 8 years of experience in professional cycling coaching in Singapore. We have structured and effective cycling programs that will enable you to take part in the joys of cycling at any age. Book your child’s cycling lesson in a safe, private environment with us today.

It is easy to get frustrated seeing your child not cycling or handling the bicycle well, but it is all part of the learning process as a beginner. Remember that being patient, encouraging, and optimistic can make your child’s learning experience fun, and that will go a long way towards putting them at ease while learning how to cycle.