Uh…Yes! Or even sooner! As soon as your child can fit a proper helmet on her head it is time to get a balance bike! All of our children started pushing around a balance bike on or before their first birthday and they have not slowed down since. As long as your child can fit into a helmet and walk, then a balance bike is a great tool to get them moving around even more. More movement means more resting which means you can catch a breath once in a while!
There are a few key things to consider when buying a balance bike for younger kiddos like a 2-year-old child. The most important is the size — Then closely followed by weight. Many people will “sell” you on the idea of a durable metal frame. However, we’ve found that wooden bikes are great options too. The metal frames may offer more seat height options, but the wooden bikes just work better indoors.
Speaking of riding indoors…For those of you that live in cooler climates, an “indoor” bike is a good option too. Let your child cruise around on the bike during the winter and you’ll be ready to hit some trails…or paths in the spring when it warms up. For riding indoor we prefer a wooden bike with foam tires. But be careful if your entire house is tile as some foam can turn slippery. All of our kids have ridden indoors. When they crash the wooden bike does less damage to your flooring.
How to find the right size balance bike for a 2-year old
Well, one way is to just go out and shop. Let your child stand over the bike. If their feet can reach the ground with a flat foot and maybe even a slight bend in the knee you should be good to go. However, if they are just starting to walk then a lower seat seems to give them a little more comfort. For all three of our kids, they simply walked with the balance bike for the first few weeks. After a little practice, they will sit on the seat and roll. So, give them a little space and make sure the bike is small enough to start. Our very first balance bike was a little too large so we drilled new holes to make the seat as low as possible.
How much should a child’s balance bike weigh?
Keep it light! As light as possible to start. Durability is not critical at a young age UNLESS there are older siblings — they will ride it too! Our 7 year old still hops on the steel Puky bike we bought in Germany. That tank holds him just fine, and since it was technically his bike first it is hard to keep him off it. But the newer bikes are all lightweight wooden bikes. And they are great starter balance bikes.
Also, keep in mind that you will probably be carrying the bike more than you expect. Kids ride…then they run…then they chase a grashopper…then they just sit and enjoy the grass. Your kids will be on and off the bike as you go on walks. So give it a test carry just like your kids give it a test ride.
Should I get a kid’s balance bike?
Absolutely! There is no better way for a kid to learn to ride. These bikes seem to just naturally work with your child. As the kiddo gains confidence the balance and rolling will come naturally. Then when you are ready to transition to a pedal bike the training wheels will only get in the way. Our first son demanded that the training wheels were removed after just 20 minutes. We didn’t know any better back then and ever since we have not even considered training wheels.
One word of caution. It is possible your child will be so comfortable on the bike that she might believe she is a cycling coach for all the neighborhood kids. You may remind them that all kids learn to ride at different times. Just because she started at age one doesn’t mean her friends did. So be nice to those still struggling with training wheels!