We don’t see many cyclists on Malta’s busy roads, however, the countryside offers different biking routes for adventures with the whole family. Why should you teach your kids to ride a bike?
1) It’s a skill for life.
If your kids are struggling to believe that they can succeed in life, teach them to ride a bike. This will take some time, require patience and strategies. If your kids persevere, they will experience confidence based on their accomplishment. Both you and the children will share a sense of achievement.
2) It’s about quality time together.
Learning to ride a bike is a process during which kids need support until they get comfortable. You can be by their side when they fall, help to get back up, motivate them to keep going, and celebrate little successes together. Your kids will appreciate the time spent together and learning from you – not only in terms of skills but also in being patient and supportive. Bike rides as a family are a good opportunity to spend time outdoors for everyone no matter which age.
3) It enhances balance, strength, coordination, and gross motor skills.
Once your kids know how to ride a bike, they will be able to transfer the skills required to do so into other sports and activities in their daily lives. Building strength and learning how to balance whilst on a bike is fun and good for the overall physical health of your kids – it is a full-body sensory activity.
4) It releases happiness hormones.
Not only the learning process itself but especially mastering the skill of riding a bike at the end, releases endorphins and dopamine which boost the mood. A better mood can lead to increased focus and productivity in school for example.
5) It is a lesson in taking responsibility.
Apart from teaching your kids how to ride a bike, you will be able to teach them about the responsibility of owning their first vehicle. They can learn to appreciate what it means to possess something of value that needs to be maintained over a longer period of time and this will be a learning experience they can make use of in other aspects of their lives as well.
6) It is environmentally friendly.
Riding a bike is not polluting the environment and whilst outside, your kids learn to explore and appreciate their surroundings. Biking brings kids outside, get fresh air and some sun instead of spending time inside in front of a screen – you may teach them about both their own health and the planet’s health whilst teaching them to ride a bike.
7) It gives a sense of independence.
Knowing how to ride a bike, your kids will be able to meet their friends by themselves, explore the neighborhood and maybe even make it to school in case they ever miss the bus. They become more independent and will appreciate it.
8) It helps to socialize and improve communication skills.
Teaching your kids to ride a bike requires communication between you and them – they ask questions during this process and learn to ask for your support. Once they are riding their bikes with friends, they socialize and might have to ask for the way sometimes and then listen to directions.
9)It prepares kids for participation in traffic.
Once they grow older, your kids will participate in traffic anyway – whether on a bike, a motorbike, or in a car. Learning how to ride a bike comes with certain traffic rules which is a good preparation for the future.
10) It is a lesson about safety.
If you teach your kids to ride a bike, they will learn about their own and others’ safety: Using a helmet and biking equipment protects them. They will also learn how to drive carefully and safely to not put themselves and others at risk or get injured which, again, will reflect on other areas of their lives.
In summary, biking is good for your kids’ physical and mental health and overall development.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Franziska Richter is a transcultural counsellor with the Willingness Team, offering counselling sessions to individuals and couples. She is particularly interested in sexuality, relationship issues, trauma and general mental health.