According to a three-year study commissioned by VICHealth, children don’t learn to ride a bike these days and the parents are to blame. The study found that parents are too afraid of what others will think if they let their kids roam free. By comparison, when the parents grew up, they were free to roam and have adventures on their own. Today, children are not encouraged to venture outdoors and roam free unsupervised, because parents are too concerned about what others will think and say about their parenting.
Over 2,000 parents took part in the survey and surprisingly the vast majority were not
concerned with stranger danger or the environment. The parents were simply scared of being judged unfairly for letting their child roam free, unsupervised. It is alarming that stranger danger was not the main concern. David Strickland, Manager of Camps and Outdoor Sector Development for Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV), says that they see approximately 70,000 children each year attending school camps with them, and that approximately 1 in 3 children cannot ride a bike.
“Children who are able to play and travel without an adult and those who walk or cycle to school are more likely to meet Australian physical activity guidelines, according to findings from research that investigated the role that parental fear plays in shaping children’s independence and physical activity, the first of its kind in Australia.” - Camps and Outdoor Sector Development for Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV).
Many would agree that learning to ride a bike is a valuable life-skill. It helps keep you fit and healthy and is also a fantastic mode of transport. But, unfortunately 90% of children will never ride a bike to school. Madeline Hoskin, from Kidspot says “With this being the case, we can’t just passively sit back and wait for kids to develop bike-riding skills on their own. We need to invest time into helping them ditch the training wheels, and into taking them to places where they can roam safely. Maybe you could start by riding to school, or sign them up for after-school or in-school programs?”
Balance Buddy is proud to offer a product that encourages children to be active. Bike riding develops essential gross motor skills and encourages children to be independent. Children as young as 18 months old gravitate towards our Balance Buddy bikes, they love the colours and take hold of the bike with ease (it only weights 3 kg), they jump on and start to ride without any instruction. With their feet on the ground children can get a sense of how to balance on their Balance Buddy right away, and with a little practice they soon master the skill of balancing. They lift their feet off the ground and away they ride. Specifically designed without pedals and brakes, Balance Buddy boosts their balance, gross motor skills and confidence. Learning to ride a bike has never been so easy until now!