Jumping on a scooter and cruising around the neighborhood is not only extremely fun and exhilarating, but it can also give your kid a sense of freedom they’ve never experienced before. Escooters for kids are an excellent way of getting outside and enjoying the greater outdoors.
While you might be able to get onto a escooter and easily glide away without putting much thought into it, what you may not realize is that there’s actually a lot of skill that goes into it.
In this article, we are going to take a look at everything you need to know about teaching your child how to ride a scooter.
When learning any new extreme hobby, including how to ride a scooter, safety should be a top priority. Thus, it is important to ensure that your kid is equipped with all the requisite gear; a well-fitting helmet, wrist guards and knee pads.
Once you have checked all these items off the list and have your kids electric scooter ready, it is time to hit the outdoors!
Teaching your kid how to ride a scooter
1. Identify the Dominant Foot
The first step to teaching your kid (or anyone actually) how to ride a scooter is to determine their dominant foot. Just like the way most people are right-handed, most have their right foot as the dominant one, which gives this the name “regular stance.” However, there are still a lot of people who are left-footed, otherwise known as “goofy footed.”
While the name might infer otherwise, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having the left foot as the dominant one. The only issue is that it is less common. There are different ways to determine which of your kid’s feet is the dominant one. Here are two of them:
Have your kid stand on a flat surface with both feet approximately a shoulder-width apart.
Next, ask them to slowly lean forward like they were falling until they put one foot forward to stop their fall. The foot they use to catch themselves is their dominant foot.
If your kid is too scared to do this, there is another safer option. Ask them to stand at the beginning of a stairway with both feet flat on the ground then ask them to climb up the stairs. The foot that gets atop the first step first is most likely the dominant one.
Though this technique is considered less accurate than the “falling” test, it is far less scary for small children.
Here is a good guide to choose a escooter for kids
2. Find Your Stance
After identifying your kid’s dominant foot, they need to learn that their stronger foot should always be BEHIND their less dominant foot when riding a scooter. The dominant foot will be the power foot or the pushing foot while the less dominant foot will stay on the scooter.
3. Ensure That the Scooter Is Set Up Correctly
It is important to ensure that the scooter is properly set up for your kid’s height. Most kick scooters come with an adjustable handlebar, so make sure that the handlebar is positioned at an appropriate height for your kid to ensure optimal comfort and safety.
The right height should be somewhere between their waist height and hip height. Have your child stand flat-footed on the deck with suitable outdoor sports shoes, and while balancing the scooter for them, make the proper adjustments. We advise maintaining a height closer to the waist.
Granted, most kids will want a handlebar height higher than their waist, but this is ill-advised. A handlebar that is too high increases the risk of losing control of their scooter. For a beginner, a waist height setting is best.
4. Choose A Paved Surface
Now it is time to jump onto the scooter and well, scoot away! Make sure that your kid has enough open space in a flat and paved area.
But before any scooting, check to ensure that your kid has put on their helmet and all the necessary protective gear. Reality says that they take a fall or two while trying to maintain their balance. It is always wise to be prepared and safe.
If you don’t have enough open space around your home or don’t know where to find an open paved area, consider a school parking lot on the weekends or a nearby basketball court.
Once all of this is done, let your kid straddle the scooter with both hands on handlebars and both feet on the ground.
The next step is getting them into their stance. With their dominant foot still on the ground, ask them to place their weaker foot on the scooter. This will help to establish balance.
After they are comfortable balancing the scooter while it’s stationary, it is time to introduce some motion.
Here, you will need to stay close by to offer support and assistance if needed. Have your kid use their stronger foot to push the scooter forward for just a bit, raise their foot and set it back down again and repeat.
What you are basically doing here is asking your kid to walk with the assistance of the scooter – having your kid stand, push, glide, and step back down, on repeat. This can come naturally to your child.
But try not to become frustrated or worried if this doesn’t happen as quickly as you’d expected. At the end of the day, this is supposed to be a fun experience for both you and your child. But if either of your starts to feel stressed, you can just stop and try again later.
With time, the slow step & glide motions will develop into faster steps with longer glides. Once your kid has eased into it, ask them to place their pushing foot on the scooter behind the resting foot. Remember, the dominant foot should always be BEHIND.
To push your kid even further, come up with a challenge to see how long they can glide with both their feet on the scooter. And Hooray! You’ve successfully taught your kid how to ride a scooter.
Use Your Brakes!
Different scooter models utilize different braking systems. While some come with handbrakes operable at the handlebars, the majority come with foot brakes. They feature a push-down contraption on the rear wheel. There are also others that have no brakes – you use your foot and the ground as the brakes.
It is crucial for your kid to learn how to properly use the available brakes and be capable of doing so, especially when it comes to handbrakes. They require one to apply enough pressure and may need some extra practice to get right.
Keep in mind that this is most probably your kid’s first experience with handbrakes, and while the whole concept may seem obvious to you, it may be very confusing to them. They may have a hard time connecting the facts that you move with your foot and stop with your hands.
On the other hand, foot brakes feel more natural. However, your kid needs to have a great sense of balance since to stop, they have to use their dominant foot to execute the brakes mid-cruise.
One important safety measure that most parents tend to overlook is ensuring that their kids don an appropriate pair of sports shoes for riding a scooter. Keep in mind that the friction between the brake and the wheel leads to a significant amount of heat that can be easily transferred to your child’s foot. You should NEVER let your kid scoot barefooted.
Do this while in good moods and keep low expectations
Trying to teach someone something and failing can get incredibly frustrating, and this is something you would want to avoid when teaching your kid how to ride a scooter. Try to remain as calm and as relaxed as possible during the process and celebrate every small progress.
You can’t expect your child to perfect this skill in one afternoon. Be ready to stop the activity after a short while and plan ahead a side activity. Get back to learning after much later.
Take it slow
Don’t rush your kid into learning everything all at once. They need time to test out the scooter and get a feel for it. Provide them with some useful tips to help in their learning. For instance, explain to them making a nice circle with the scooter makes turning much easier than abruptly turning the handlebar.
Once your kid is comfortable using the scooter, you can proceed to teach them leg switching. Let your kid know the importance of leg switching for a healthier back, straightened spine, and reduced burden on each leg.
Explain to them learning this skill takes time and might be difficult at the beginning. They need to feel for themselves that riding becomes easier when they switch legs. Ideally, switch legs after 5-6 push-offs on flat ground and more often when going up a hill.
They may also become incentivized by learning that motor development influences cognitive development, thus helping to improve their thinking capabilities and performance at school.
It is important to appreciate and celebrate any and all success realized during the process. Once your child becomes good at scooting, consider taking a trip on scooters to a place they love, for example, an ice cream shop in your area.
And with that, we wish you all the patience and success in your new endeavor as you introduce your kid into the fun world of scooters. We believe that scootering is something that should be done as a family activity, regardless of age.