How can parents keep toddlers active and happily occupied for an hour or so? What fun activity can be done with minimal fuss and planning? Try tricycle riding in the outdoors.
By teaching your child how to ride a tricycle and giving him regular tricycle time, you are subtly introducing the importance of physical fitness and shaping his attitude towards leading an active lifestyle.
A child who spends too much time on sedentary activities may not develop the stamina needed for more active play or acquire the physical skills needed for his school years and beyond. So let him hop onto a tricycle and off you go to a safe, trike-friendly area such as a park, neighbourhood playground, or open space at the void deck. Do remember to supervise your child at all times and make sure he wears a safety helmet.
CHOOSING A TRICYCLE
There is no shortage of tricycle models in stores. Pick a three-wheeler that is age appropriate for your child. One year olds can start with a low-to-the-ground push trike model that requires him to push or walk with his feet. Models featuring push handles at the back allow parents to help little ones maneuver.
If you're shopping around for tricycle models, it may be a good idea to invest in one that can take a child from one to four years old. Features to look out for include back support, adjustable seat, non-slip pedals, sturdy steering, shock absorbers and safety hand-grips. Of course, make sure it's in your child's favourite colour and check that his feet can reach the pedals/ ground. Don't forget the safety helmet!
BENEFITS OF RIDING A TRICYCLE
Being able to ride a tricycle is a developmental milestone. Most children should be able to successfully ride one by the time they are three years old. Learning how to negotiate a tricycle builds muscle strength, endurance and stamina. It also builds on a child's motor skills as maintaining, balancing, pedal coordination, andn steering come into play. The more a child rides his tricycle, the better developed his leg muscles will be, preparing him for the next stage: riding a bicycle.
SAFETY & SETTING BOUNDARIES
Always make sure your child has a safety helmet on when he rides his tricycle. A helmet not only offers protection should accidents occur, the act of putting it on and securing it establishes a safety habit. Even as your child happily pedals away from you, enjoying his sense of independence and freedom, make sure you set boundaries for him. Show him the areas he can ride around and which are strictly off limits. Always keep a lookout when your child is on his tricycle to further ensure his safety. When he has burnt up all his energy riding circles arounnd you, ask him if he enjoyed himself. Don't forget to emphasise how fun and rewarding exercise can be!