The race is on. It seems as if everyone is rushing to get their kids riding dirtbikes and mini bikes as soon, or as young as possible. While I’m all for providing children the opportunity to ride, I’m not keen on seeing kids that are clearly not ready being introduced to the sport in all the wrong ways.
So, how do you know if your kids are even ready to ride?
1. ALL KIDS ARE DIFFERENT! They grow at different rates and master certain developmental milestones at drastically different times so while one 3 year old might be ready to hop on a dirtbike, another child may not be ready until age 6. PLEASE take your own child’s abilities into account and don’t rush them. Don’t compare kids to other kids either, respect your child’s unique abilities.
2. Are they willing? For a kid to excel in any sport they need to be interested and willing to try it. Before you put your kids on a bike make sure they really wants to ride and that you aren’t pushing them to do something they don’t want to do.
3. Can they ride a bicycle? Before I put my son Ashton on a dirtbike I wanted to make sure he was proficient at riding a bicycle, no training wheels. He had to demonstrate that he could stop quickly and effectively, maneuver around obstacles, and pay attention to what was going on around him. He rode on the street, on trails, and on BMX tracks and utilized a bike with front hand brakes before we even considered getting him a dirtbike.
4. Can they touch the ground and reach the controls easily? A bike that is too big will feel cumbersome and tippy to a child. Make sure they can touch the ground comfortably (even if you show them how to do so with just one foot touching) and make sure that they are strong enough to twist the throttle and pull in the brake.
5. Do they have the proper riding gear? NEVER put your kid on a bike without good quality riding gear. At the very least they should have a proper fitting, DOT approved helmet, goggles, gloves, long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy boots.
6. Do they have enough coordination, patience, focus and concentration to master the controls of a motorized vehicle? Riding a motorcycle requires a lot of coordination and some young kids just don’t have it yet. Trust your parent intuition and wait until you are sure that your kid is developmentally ready to ride. Your child will be more successful at riding and more likely to continue pursuing it if you wait until he or she is ready.
Alright, so you know your kid is ready to ride, now what? Read about 11 Awesome Tips for Coaching your kids here:
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