Your kid's first ATV ride experience may not be as easy as you may think it is - even with his great enthusiasm to learn to ride one. Most ATV parents are eager to pass on the ATV "legacy" to their kids without first finding out if their kids are interested. Besides just teaching them to ride, there are other issues that the parents have to tackle first - such as the physical, emotional and mental assessments of your child.
First of all, it is really important that your child is interested in ATVs, or at least is keen in learning to ride on one. If your child shows keen interest, you will need to discern if he is physically ready to ride an ATV. He should be able to at least stand on the footpegs or the floorboards while straddling the seat on the ATV. Your child should be able to reach the control levers comfortably and also have the strength to operate them. After your child passes the physical requirements to ride an ATV, you will need to evaluate his ability to comprehend risk - is he able to recognize and reduce risks? True, you may not be able to get rid of all the risks involved with riding an ATV, but with detailed preparation and careful prevention, you will be able to reduce the risks significantly.
Once you have determined that your child is ready to ride on the ATV, you have to start teaching him from scratch. Remember, patience and good communication are 2 great keys to get your child to understand how the machine works. Explain to your child what he needs to do to get the machine going and stopping. Try to minimize your use of technical jargons that only an adult ATV rider understands. Don't tell him to shift to a lower gear or a higher gear when you can actually just tell him to tap the shifter down with his toe. Do not try to rush your kid in learning how to operate an ATV - take it one step at a time. It is more important that he is able to learn how to ride the ATV safely first and this alone is a big step in learning.
Whenever your child is making progress - do praise him, but never compare him with other kids if the others are making a better progress than he is. You need to remember that every skill advances in its own pace and that you simply can't rush your child. Never allow your kid's frustrations upset you while you are coaching him - if you see that your kid is struggling, more often than not, it is best to just take a break. If he does not get it right the first time, try and try again. Bear in mind that each child is different and it is best to work within their individual limits and not push them ahead of their own pace. By pushing them too hard, they may lose interest in learning and give up altogether.
Even if your child have mastered the skill of riding an ATV, it is best that you be his eyes and ears while he is riding. It is difficult for a young rider to recognize everything that goes on around them, so if you sense or see danger, you will have to take action immediately. You should never allow your child to ride an ATV all by himself. One of the best ways for you to access his skills is to ride alongside with him - that way you can also stop and offer advise whenever it is needed and you will have more fun riding together that way too!
For more tips and ideas about learning to ride an ATV, check out some of the ATV websites' forums and discussions boards, or better yet, if you have some tips about teaching your kid how to ride an ATV, you can always share your great ideas at www.jackel.com or www.kazumausa.com too!