Sensory Processing Disorder Balance Bikes 

Sensory processing disorder affects up to 16% of school aged children and one of the most challenging symptoms is difficulty with motor skills. There can be many different reasons that your child may be struggling to learn how to ride a bike. They could be struggling with coordination, vestibular dysfunction, poor fine motor or gross motor skills, balance, body position, movement, or muscle weakness. 

There are so many balance bikes and equipment to help your child to learn a ride. Some children start with 3 wheeled scooters to practice too. There are also Safety Trainer Handle Balance Push Bars to help your child learn to ride a bike. Some children may feel comfortable using a tricycle or scooter bikes. The great news is there is a special bike out there for every child. 

sensory child on balance bike Sensory Processing Disorder Balance Bikes

Riding a bike is a great form of exercise with many benefits for kids. Learning to ride a bike without training wheels for children who have Sensory Processing Disorder can bring challenges. This is very common. 
Our vestibular sense is our sense that is responsible for our movement and balance. An Occupational Therapist (OT) could assist you to help your child learn to ride a bike or work on your child's vestibular sense. 

Balance bikes, also known as pre-bikes or run bikes, are designed without pedals. They are an alternative to traditional bikes for children. Instead of using pedals to move forward, balance bikes rely on the child's ability to push off the ground with their feet to propel themselves forward. This allows children to focus on learning balance and coordination before adding the complexity of pedaling the bike.

Balance bikes offer numerous benefits for children with sensory processing disorder. They are an excellent way for children to improve their balance, spatial awareness, and coordination. They also provide a gentle introduction to the world of biking and help build confidence in young riders. Balance bikes also promote bilateral coordination.

Doing some proprioceptive activities before your child rides their bike could also be helpful. (heavy work) Positive encouragement and praise while your child is learning to ride a bike is absolutely essential. It helps them gain confidence. 

Balance bikes offer an opportunity for children to get outside and be active, promoting healthy physical development. They are lightweight and easy to maneuver, making them accessible for children with motor skill challenges. As children become more proficient on their balance bike, they can easily transition to riding a traditional bike without training wheels.

While using a balance bike may seem straightforward, there are some tips to keep in mind to make the experience more beneficial for children with sensory differences.

Start slow: Children with sensory differences may require more time to adjust to new experiences. Start by having your child sit on the bike and get acquainted with it in a calm and quiet environment.

Use sensory supports: Some children may benefit from using sensory supports such as weighted backpacks or weighted vests while riding their balance bike. These can provide a calming and grounding effect, making it easier for children to focus on their balance and coordination.

Adjust the bike to fit your child: It's important to ensure that the balance bike is the right size for your child. Adjust the seat to a comfortable height and make sure the handlebars are at the correct level for your child's arms.

Take breaks: It's important to take breaks during sessions to avoid overwhelming your child. Sensory breaks can be helpful, such as a quick walk or playing with a sensory toy.

There is no specific age when children should start using a balance bike. 
Children can learn to ride a bike as early as three years old, some learn to ride a bike around five or six but there are children that take a little longer to learn how to ride a bike and that's okay too. Every child is different, and it's important to consider their individual needs and abilities.

Some parents may choose to introduce a balance bike earlier, as early as 18 months, while others may wait until three or four years old. It's important to monitor your child's development and readiness before introducing a balance bike.

It's very important to teach your child about bicycle safety and rules. It's the law that children need to wear a helmet. Using a helmet that fits properly with knee/elbow pads to prevent them from getting hurt, wearing a good pair of supportive sneakers are a must too. Wearing comfortable clothing and shoe laces that can be tucked in while riding their bike. 

Children with sensory differences, can greatly benefit from using balance bikes. Balance bikes can also benefit children with other motor skill challenges, such as those with autism or developmental delays. They can also be helpful for children with physical disabilities, as they offer a more manageable way to learn balance and coordination.

I am asked often where to get a balance bike for children so I created a list of balance bikes that can help you decide which one is the best fit for your child and their needs. 

Balance Bikes 

Schwinn Spitfire Kids/Toddlers Balance Bike, 12-Inch Wheels, Beginner Riders Ages 2-4 Years Old, Training Wheels Not Included, Multiple Colors
Designed to help young children develop balance and coordination as they learn to ride. Fits riders ages 2 to 4, or 28 – 38 inches in height
Low step-through design makes it easy to get on and off the bike
Single piece alloy frame adds style, Enclosed axle nuts provide increased safety
Unique saddle tailor made for children to use a walk/running motion comfortably. Quick release seat collar allows for easy height adjustments
Small diameter handlebar and grips are easy for little hands to control, Air-filled tires provide a smooth ride

Radio Flyer Air Ride Balance Bike, Toddler Bike, Ages 1.5-5
The Air Ride Balance Bike is a pedal-free beginner bike that allows toddlers to focus on balance. As they learn to walk, glide, and run, this balance bike will help them develop coordination. The ringing bell also adds to the fun! 12” rubber air tires provide a smooth ride on any terrain. The white walls also add to this classic design.
The tool-free adjustable seat grows with your toddler from ages 1.5 – 5.
Grip tape on the frame provides a place for riders to place their feet as they glide. The frame is lightweight and durable, ensuring years of fun! Assembled dimensions are 34.3“ L x 15.8“ W x 23.6” H. Recommended for kids ages 1.5 – 5 years. Maximum weight capacity 50 lbs.

Banana LT Balance Bike - Lightweight for Toddlers, Kids - 2, 3, 4 Year Olds
The Original Banana-shaped bicycle frame design, with a low centre of gravity and an easy step-through frame design, the lightweight (just 6.4Lbs) Banana Bike LT is the ideal training bike for 2, 3, 4 or 5 year old children to have fun on their outdoor adventures.
With its easy quick release mechanism, the seat height of the Banana Bike LT can be adjusted on the go from just 12.2” up to 15.7”, a great range that will see most kids from their first biking experience, through to their transition onto their first proper pedal bike at the age of between 4 and 5 years old.
The Banana Bike LT is designed with your kids in mind, it is lightweight, with great ergonomics. A Banana Bike is far superior to scooters, tricycles or starter pedal bikes with stabilizers; small boys and girls can easily handle the bike, travel further distances and you won’t be left carrying it as your child won’t want to put it down.

Bixe 16" Pro Balance Bike for Big Kids 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 Years Old - No Pedal Sport Training Bicycle  A kids balance bike is a safer, faster and FUNNER way for kids to learn cycling. A no pedal bike lets children master balance and steering first so moving to pedal bike is easy. Big balance bike that is a great transition bike or training bike. This is a balance bike for 5 year old up to 9 year old. A balancing bike that’s great for kids who have challenges and experienced riders who love testing their limits. Pink balance bike, green balance bike, purple or blue. Girls balance bike or boys. Kids’ balance bikes need to be safe! This kids’ balance bike has been rigorously tested with the weight of larger children and its durability is astounding! Each clamp is tamper-proof, both wheels equipped with safety washers.

Balance Bike - Toddler Training Bike for 18 Months, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Year Old Kids - Ultra Cool Colors Push Bikes for Toddlers/No Pedal Scooter Bicycle with Footrest
Do you remember your first toddler bike? It needed to be light enough to drag, but strong enough for those moments of frustration when you threw it to the ground! It had to be safe, but of course, look cool too! So naturally we packed all that into the GOMO, so your kids can fondly remember their first bike too!
 To ride like the big kids’, there’ll be a few spills along the way. So we gave the GOMO push bike a steel frame that’s as light as it is tough. It’s the first bike that grows with kids and their confidence! The adjustable seat allows for a ride height 12” – 17.5” and grows from 18 months to 5 years; and up to 60lbs.

Strider - 12 Classic Balance Bike, Ages 18 Months to 3 Years
The #1 Selling, Most highly rated, Highest Reviewed Balance Bike in the World.
STRIDER has the youngest starting age: 18 months. If they can walk they can ride!
The Most Adjustable Seat & Handlebar Height of any Balance Bike.
STRIDER gives children the Easiest Transition to a Pedal Bike.
The 12 Classic model comes with the mini-seat (18-36 months). Strider recommends the additional padded seat with extra long seat post for children 36-60 months.

Royal Kids Balance Bike for 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 Years Old- No Pedal Push Training Bicycle
What A Royal Kids - Can you imagine your child going from non-biking to galloping step by step with you? With the Royal Kids balance bike, their confidence and coordination skills will be enhanced and they will make a safe and smooth transition to regular cycling.
Better Riding - Experience 12 " Puncture-Proof EVA foam tires with 1.78" thickness provide premium suspension and better grip for all terrains. 
Accompany Your Child To Grow Up - This no-pedal bike is perfect for children ages 2 to 6. Seat height is adjustable from 13.4 inches to 15.7 inches and handlebar height is adjustable from 22 inches to 22.8 inches. Stylish appearance, smooth welding, no sharp design, to ensure the safety of children in use. Significantly, it can be with your child all the time.

Strider - 12 Sport Balance Bike, Ages 18 Months to 5 Years  Meet the bike that set the world on fire and revolutionized the way kids learn to ride. Children as young as one are experiencing the thrill of riding without training wheels before they’re out of diapers.
The seat and handlebar heights adjust to accommodate ages 18 months to 5 years, or a 12– 20 in. inseam (no tools required).
Weighing in at only 3.0 kg (6.7 lbs.), the 12 Sport push bike makes it easy for your boy or girl to ride and stride. Mini-grips mean your child’s little mitts can easily take control. This bike gives you the biggest bang for your buck!
 Boring specs aside, this is the bike that introduces kids to the freedom, power, and responsibility of riding. Now they have the power to keep up with you when you’re out and about, experiencing amazing freedom.

Bike Training Handle for Kids Trainer Balance Push Bar
The best way to give your child the confidence and control to master bicycle riding.
The Bike Trainer assures parents a new level of ease and effectiveness in teaching their children how to ride a bicycle.
Universal clamp fits most children's bicycles.
Easy to install and remove.
Non-slip design.

Here are some more helpful Sensory Processing Disorder Resources

DISCLAIMER: I am not an Occupational Therapist. I am an adult who has Sensory Processing Disorder, a sensory parent and a Grandma. The information on this website is not medical advice and does not replace the information that your child's therapists gives you. These are just ideas and information that I have learned myself over the years of being a parent and an adult living with SPD. If you are concerned for your child, please always seek medical attention through a family doctor, pediatrician or therapist. This website is for suggestions and informational purposes only. Each child is different and what works for one child may not for another because all children have different needs. Please always consult with a professional.

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