How to Teach a Child to Ride a Scooter

By Kathryn Hatter
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A youngster on scooter wheels can be a fearless force. When your child wants to learn how to ride a scooter, provide comprehensive guidance and lessons to ensure that she stays safe. Supply the necessary safety equipment such as a helmet and pads for elbows and knees to protect your child from serious injuries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends children ages 12 and under use only kick scooters. Use of motorized scooters for this age group can present serious safety risks.

Acquiring Safety Equipment

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Head injuries are the most common and serious injury for children riding scooters and other wheeled equipment, according to the John Hopkins Medicine website. To protect your child from serious injury, insist that he wear a helmet for every scooter ride. Ensure that the helmet your child wears fits snugly, sits in a level position, buckles with a chin strap and does not move during use. Provide elbow pads and knee pads for your child to wear while riding the scooter and insist that he wear them to reduce the possibility of fractures, dislocations, bruises and scrapes. Wrist guards may interfere with your youngster’s hold on the scooter handlebar, so avoid them, states Johns Hopkins Medicine. Always supervise your child on the scooter during the learning process to avoid injuries. Institute rules about where and how your child rides his scooter for safety.

Choosing a Spot to Learn

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Expect some falls while your child learns scooter-riding skills. To avoid painful and discouraging scrapes and bruises, choose an area with soft ground, advises the Rockboard website. A level area without hills and dips is also helpful to make riding easier. Once your youngster masters the initial balance necessary for riding, move to a paved surface without cracks and bumps to continue to work on scooter skills.

Working on Fundamentals and Scooter Balance

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Before the first ride, discuss how the scooter operates and its parts so your youngster understands the fundamentals. Point out the wheels, the deck and the handlebar. The scooter may or may not have brakes. If your child’s scooter has brakes, show them to your child and discuss how to use them to slow and stop the scooter. Using the hand brakes requires squeezing the brake at the handlebar. Using fender brakes requires pressing on the back fender with a foot to stop the scooter. Balance will be a key skill for scooter riding. Invite your child to place a foot onto the scooter deck while holding onto the handlebar. Stand beside your child as she attempts to balance herself on the scooter and be ready to steady her, if necessary. Encourage your youngster to experiment with how the scooter feels as she simply stands with hands on the handlebar, one foot on the deck and the other foot on the ground. Feeling comfortable in this position may take only a moment or it could take longer, depending on your child’s coordination and skill level.

Moving Forward

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Once your child feels comfortable with balancing the scooter, encourage him to push himself forward slowly with one foot on the ground. Balancing with both feet on the deck is not necessary at this point. Once your child feels comfortable with this process, he might move to another smooth surface to continue practicing. Remain near while your child works on scooter skills so you can prevent falls. Gradually, as your youngster becomes more skilled, show him how to steer the scooter with the handlebar to turn corners, weave right and left and move in circles. Weaving is important because it will enable your child to avoid rocks or other objects. Encourage him to keep his speed down during the learning process to ensure that he maintains control of the moving scooter.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.