If you do one thing this year as the parent to a lively toddler, get him/her a balance bike!
I cannot recommend this brilliant yet simple piece of play thing/equipment highly enough and have taken it upon myself as a mission to spread the news to as many parents with young ones as possible. No, I haven’t been sponsored by anyone to do this post. I just love how a balance bike has transformed our daily walks in the park into something I actually look forward to everyday. Read on to know more
We were given a rather lovely balance bike by a lovely couple we’ve known for a few years here in the UK (thank you Vidya and Aswin!!) as a present and at the time my son was about 1.5 years old. My toddler had by then become rather attached to his beloved scooter and I wasn’t very sure if I could convince him to try the balance bike. Sure enough he tried it and on finding it different to his scooter, soon gave up wanting to ride it and stuck with his trusty scooter for a while longer. I hadn’t given up though. I’d previously read on the internet about the benefits of starting kids on a balance bike rather than a pedal bike and thought I would give it a try to see how effective it really is. So every time we went for a walk, I took the bike with us and lo and behold, my toddler eventually got on it and starting walking his feet slowly. My boy just turned 3 two months ago and still rides it everyday, morning and sometimes in the evenings too. Take a look at this video to see how he’s progressed from when he began. You’d be amazed!
Since my boy started riding the balance bike
- I’ve gotten considerably fitter! What with all that running around and playing, that is! I am truly blessed to be living in an area filled with lovely parks. So in the summer, I would take to wearing running shoes and jogging beside my toddler on his balance bike along cycle routes and pavements. I’ve also been doing my local shopping with him on the bike, which is a lot quicker and convenient than having to lug a bored toddler in a pushchair around!
- We’ve become more outdoorsy! The rain and the wind don’t bother us anymore, as long as we’ve got our parkas on. We can still whizz back home if it suddenly starts raining. It is also nicer that my toddler to stop and get a closer look at flowers, ducks, squirrels, dogs, kitties and any other interesting thing that might cross his path
- He has become more aware of his surroundings. With being out so much comes a lot of opportunity for bonding and communication that you just don’t get when you stay indoors. We talk and learn from each other a lot. I’ve learnt to stop and smell the roses and enjoy these fleeting and precious moments I get with my wee boy.My toddler on the other hand, now knows to stop and press the button at the pelican crossing and knows what I mean by ‘Stop’, ‘Turn right/left’, ‘Slow down’, ‘go faster’ etc. He also can spot most types of vehicles on the road and has learnt to stop by and say ‘hello’ to passers-by who admire how good he is on the bike.
- We usually end up having way too much fun! Time really does fly by quicker. Everytime we head out to the park, it would feel like we’ve only been there a few minutes before we realise nearly two hours have passed! Especially if there is an interesting terrain for my boy to ride on .i.e, a gentle slope, ramps, a puddle etc, we would be there until he gets bored with riding over it.
So if you plan on buying anything for your toddler, grandkids or as a present for a child you know, get a balance bike. Not a trike. Not one of those expensive battery operated cars or something similarly silly. I’m not sure a child needs all of that. Besides by starting with a balance bike, your child will progress to a traditional bike with pedals rather quickly, without ever having to resort to use stabilizers. If the child in question is a bit younger, I would recommend either a kiddy scooter or a Scuttlebug (trike with no pedals). My son has used both and has liked each for different reasons.
I know that my son won’t always want to hang out with as he grows older and starts having more friends. However I will always cherish the times I’ve gotten to spend with him wandering about in parks and having the most wonderful carefree times of our lives.
Here’s another picture of my boy with a leaf bunting I made recently. I hope you have a wonderful beginning to the month of November ahead.