There is no doubt that kids need to have their playtime behind screens to be limited. Searching for information and studies of the impact of excessive video gaming on children is found on just about every parenting website – and for good reason.
Teaching a kid to ride a bicycle isn’t only a cultural right of passage, but it teaches so many important life skills too.
When you’re looking at helping to shape the development of your child, think of how a bike will benefit them and how a video game will do the same. Of course, there are always going to be exceptions. However, natural, outdoor play is universally regarded as being the better choice.
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The benefits for teaching a child to ride a bicycle:
Riding a bicycle will help a child to develop their leg and arm muscles, as well as improve their lung function and strengthen their bones. Hand-to-eye coordination, balance, core strength, and being able to judge distances all come with experience that a bicycle can develop.
Once a child has mastered the art of balancing on the pedals, you can remind your child of how they weren’t able to ride a bicycle a few hours/days/weeks ago, but after hard practice they were able to achieve it. That shows them that with a little bit of encouragement, they can overcome difficult tasks in life.
Cycling can be dangerous. A child can become injured after a fall or crashing into something. By teaching them how to avoid obstacles, providing them with the guidance and safety equipment, they will avoid injury.
While cycling opens up a raft of new freedoms for a child, they need to also learn boundaries. They need to learn the rules of the road, where to cycle, how to be safe on the road, where not to ride their bikes, and how they can ride their bikes with friends in safety.
Outdoors is fun
Riding a bike doesn’t mean a child will instantly be able to ride for miles. They will build this endurance and strength with fitness. The more they cycle, the more miles they will be able to ride. From riding in parks, in their neighborhood, their street, to bike parks, forests, and other public outdoor spaces, their world will grow with each mile they can ride. This will also develop their mental acuity – through problem-solving, decision-making and others – to improve their emotional control of themselves in new and surprising experiences and situations. They will also open themselves up to making new friends and meet people in their neighborhood, too.