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By Circle Editorial Team

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Who here remembers how he/she first started cycling? Close encounter(s) of the dirt kind? Or was it smooth sailing as you mastered the wheels in a flash? Despite the possible scrapes and bruises along the way, the skills that we pick up would serve us well in life, whether it be for leisure, transport, or fitness purposes.

Yet, it is the risk of falling (or failing) that dissuades some parents from engaging their children with bicycles. After all, which parent would want to see harm befall their precious darlings? It could be a bad personal experience, or it could be that the parents don’t actually know how to cycle themselves.

Regardless, cycling is a fantastic physical sport that brings with it a variety of benefits. If you ever needed a reason to get your kids (and maybe yourself) started on the fun activity, this article is for you!

1. Spatial Awareness

Spatial awareness is, very simply, an organised awareness of the objects in the space around us, and also an awareness of our body’s position in that space. Why should I care? You ask.

Knowledge of object categories and attributes allows children to mentally and physically organize things in their world. This would then allow your child to locate objects and navigate successfully in their environments. It is second nature to us at this point, but to a child it is an especially important cognitive skill to pick up.

Using spatial language also enables children to express their needs and concerns (“Oh no, Mommy! Teddy under bed!”) and describe and discuss the world around them (“If you put the triangles together they make a square!”)

When cycling, your child will begin to look at the terrain and make split decisions on where to go and what route to take. When you cycle as a family, your child will also have to learn to position him/herself safely to avoid accidents. Throughout the course, they will identify potential dangers and subconsciously begin to adapt in anticipation.

2. Managing Mistakes

Falling while learning to cycle can sometimes be unavoidable. While many would write off that accident as a “failure”, it is anything but. When your child picks him/herself up after a fall, he/she will gradually understand that it is ok to stumble. What is important is the will to get back up for a retry. Your child will also have to reflect on the procedural errors made and learn to never make the same mistake again. All of these are important concepts for a child to grasp to help build their mental solitude. There is less immediate pressure to succeed, making cycling a fantastic tame runway for your child!

3. Foundation for the future

Experiences and lessons learned during one’s childhood have been found to play a massive influence on our character as we grow through our formative years. This is why it is so important to let your child pick up the crucial life skills as soon as they can to help build them for success further down their lives. As a low impact sport, cycling ticks many of the boxes. Don’t let this opportunity to hone a healthy disciplined child pass!

4. Enjoy the Outdoors

Even before the pandemic, we have already seen children getting obsessed with their smart devices, often as their primary source of entertainment. Unfortunately, there is really no substitute for actual outdoors physical activity when it comes to holistic child development. Cycling is, therefore, a fantastic way to encourage your child to be active in a really fun and entertaining manner.

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5. Family Bonding

Nearly every aspect of cycling can be utilized as a family bonding session. Recall the time when you started learning to cycle. Your mentor could have been your dad, mom, or even an older sibling(s). We are all for the romance of keeping it within the family, but we do also acknowledge that some parents aren’t cyclists themselves. Then again, this just provides a great opportunity for parent and child to learn cycling together for a unique experience. And once the family is ready, turn it into a weekly occurrence. Take to the roads and bask in Singapore’s lush greenery!

 

As much as cycling is a low impact sport, it may still be a hurdle too high for children to jump straight into, particularly since they may not (yet) have the strength to push the pedal. Ease your children into the sport. There is no shame in that - the satisfaction will only multiply once the training wheels are off, literally!

 

To receive the latest updates on the happenings in the Singapore sports scene, follow GetActive TV on Facebook and Instagram!

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