I picked up my first adult bike on July 4: a Trek 7.2 FX WSD. My daughter was with me when I test rode and ordered the bike the week prior. She asked me to buy a bike for her also. Unfortunately at 12-years-old, she still doesn't know how to ride a bike (she has a small "Barbie" bike with training wheels from years ago, but never learned to ride without the training wheels).
On Saturday, my fiancÚ picked up his new Trek 7.4 FX. At this point I have no choice but to get a bike for my daughter. LOL. My daughter is on the small side and my 15" frame is too big for her. She might be able to ride a 13" frame, but that might be too big also. Rather than spend a lot of money on an adult bike she may or may not ride, I decided to go with a 24" kids' bike, figuring that if I really get into cycling she will get my 7.2 FX when I upgrade, and she's grown a bit.
I found this DiamondBack Clarity 24 on sale and ordered one for her. Did I make a mistake or is this a good starter bike?
I bought his exact bike last year for my daughter as well and she loves it! Although, my daughter is 8yrs old,but has long legs, it fits her perfectly. She is about 54" tall and the bike has plenty for her to grow into. Hope that helps. It is a nice little bike though.
The biggest thing I recommend against for kids bikes are:
1) knobby tires for riding on the road (and this is always easily fixed anyway), and
2) suspension you can't lock out (can be very lossy - a lot of energy goes into making the bike po-go instead of going forward).
It doesn't have suspension (good!) and I can't tell what tires are on there (but they don't look ridiculous).
I think you did fine.
For teaching her how to ride, take off the pedals and have her learn how to balance on the bike just by using her feet. After she's used to that, put the pedals back on and have her ride down a slight hill, and have her try and pedal.
Quick update: My daughter loves the bike. Assembling it was a breeze, other than the brakes which took a while for me to figure out. I was at my LBS yesterday and the guy I work with told me to bring the bike with me next time I come in and he'll make sure I did everything correctly and he'll adjust the brakes.