How to Teach a Toddler to Pedal a Tricycle

by Nathan Fisher
Learning to ride a tricycle is easy and it gives your toddler a sense of independence.

Learning to ride a tricycle is easy and it gives your toddler a sense of independence.

Teaching your toddler how to ride a tricycle isn't tough. In fact, if everything were this easy -- what a joy life would be. Compared to potty training, table manners and telling your toddler not to pull the dog’s tail for the 189th time -- teaching him to ride a tricycle is -- well, child’s play. Usually, you can teach a toddler how to pedal a tricycle in a few minutes

Items you will need

  • Chair
  • Elbow and knee pads
  • Tricycle helmet
  • Tricycle
Step 1

Sit your little one in a chair. Kneel down in front of him and extend your arms, with your fingers upwards and your palms facing your him; tell him to push against your hands with his feet. If he looks scared, you can say, "Don't worry. It's easy. Nothing will happen to you."

Step 2

Push back against his feet with one hand and then the other, as you tell him to “Push.” As he's pushing against your hands with his feet, move your hands in and out, so that you're simulating the pedaling motion of the tricycle. You can say, "See how this works? You'll peddle on the tricycle just like this -- and the tricycle will move." You'll bring your right hand back toward your shoulder and push forward toward him with your left hand. Then, you'll bring your left hand back toward your shoulder and push forward toward him with your right hand.

Step 3

Place a set of properly fitting elbow pads and knee pads, as well as a regulation tricycle helmet on him. Be certain the pads fit snugly. Adjust the helmet strap so that you can slip one finger (but not two) between the chin strap and his chin.

Step 4

Sit your toddler on the tricycle. Adjust the seat, with a wrench if necessary, until he can almost fully extend his leg, while the forward pedal is parallel to his outstretched leg.

Step 5

Tell him to push on the pedals. Most likely, he'll have the pedaling motion down pat so that he's able to ride the trike. If he struggles, tell him to push on the pedal as it rotates to the top of the wheel, but you'll probably see his big, bright smile as he realizes that he can do it. And he's off for his first road trip! With you watching him every moment.

Tip

  • If he's having trouble getting the tricycle started, hold onto the back of the seat and give the cycle a slight push.

Warning

  • Don’t let your attention be diverted from him -- for even a moment while he's riding. It only takes a split second for him to fall off the tricycle or to pedal off the designated path onto a street or into other area that could harm him.

About the Author

Nathan "Guide" Fisher began writing in 1997. A pilot and avid outdoorsman, Fisher has written articles on aviation and outdoor recreation, and produced marketing materials for “The Great Outdoors NETWORK!” Fisher holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and health, as well as a master’s degree in family studies.

Photo Credits

  • Noel Hendrickson/Photodisc/Getty Images