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Montessori Toddler: Introducing a Balance Bike

The freedom of movement has always been such a huge and important part of why I love Montessori parenting so much. Montessori was ahead of her time in understanding and respecting how important movement is to a child’s development.

But just because we know and understand that movement is important doesn’t mean we should force a particular type of movement at any particular time. No, the challenge of being a Montessori parent is sitting back and finding the balance between when to offer an opportunity and when to hang back and observe.

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I had to strike this balance recently when I noticed signed that Teddy was ready for a balance bike. He’s been flying around the neighborhood on his tiny trike (an older version of this small bike.) He has gotten proficient at steering it and was even lifting his feet to glide along (completely on his own without direction.) So to me that signaled that it was a perfect time to introduce a balance bike.

Well at first that was a total failure. My observations might have lead to one conclusion but Ted was terrified of the new bike. So I took a step back, and waited a couple weeks before I tried again.
This time we had a lot of success and ever since Ted has been slowly been trying our Strider. Here are a few tips to get started about with a balance bike:
  • Never force it or remove their preferred ride along toy
  • First show how to walk with the bike holding two hands on the handle bars
  • Introduce a helmet outside of just the bike riding experience
  • Start in the grass if you're worried about falls
  • Eventually they will explore putting their leg over the seat, let them take their time
  • Find a place to watch children riding bikes - maybe its siblings or neighborhood kids, or maybe at a playground or park 
  • Let the process unfold as quickly or as slowly as it happens - Teddy still prefers his small trike even weeks later 
This process has not been as fast for Teddy as it has been for my other kids, and that's totally alright. As Montessori parents we can step back, observe, and respect the pace at which our children's interest unfolds. That's a beautiful gift we can give them no matter what. 

Gentle and easy tips to introduce a balance bike to your Montessori toddler. This can be done at 1-year-old or 2-years-old depending on the child.

Has your toddler been introduced to a balance bike? How was the process? 
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