Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support
Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support

Sensory Processing Disorder Balance Bikes For Kids 

Children with sensory differences ... painting the world beautiful.  

Sensory Processing Disorder Balance Bikes 

Jeanette Loftus 

child with sensory processing disorder on a balance bike Sensory Processing 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.

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 for Children 

Schwinn Spitfire Kids/Toddlers Balance Bike

Schwinn Spitfire Kids Balance Bike

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Radio Flyer Air Ride Balance Bike, Toddler Bike

Radio Flyer Air Ride Toddler Balance Bike

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Banana LT Balance Bike - Lightweight for Toddlers, Kids

Banana Balance Bike Lightweight for Kids

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Bixe 16

Bixe 16" Pro Balance Bike for Big Kids 

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Strider 12” Sport Bike - No Pedal Balance Bicycle

Strider Sport Bike No Pedal Balance Bicycle

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Bike Training Handle for Kids Trainer Balance Push Bar

Bike Training Handle Balance Push Bar

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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. Amazon offers a small commission on products sold through their affiliate links on my website.  Each of your purchases through links on my website for Amazon affiliation links or sponsored links support me but no additional cost to you so thank you. I appreciate it so much!