When should a parent stop using the stroller for their child, and how do you do it.
While for most kids, the time to use the stroller has past, most parents are unsure. I recently saw a hilarious video where a was toddler literally taking his pushchair for a walk – he was strapped in and walking around with the pushchair on his back like a rucksack.
I’ve heard stories from my teacher friends of parents who wheeled their four and 5-year-olds into school in pushchairs. The kid spends all day running around and is then wheeled back home at the end of the day.
Most official guidelines recommend that a child should be transitioned out of a stroller around three.
A good reason for kids to ditch the stroller is that it develops strength and stamina, and sitting in a pushchair doesn’t allow for that. Walking also encourages them to be active and independent and reduces the risk of obesity.
There are of course exceptions where a buggy is a necessity, such as for safety or a disability.
So why do parents find it so difficult to ditch the stroller?
Often, this has less to do with the child’s ability to walk and more to do with the parent’s convenience.
“For most parents, a buggy is so much more than transport – it is a whole support vehicle system. No buggy means ‘you’ become the support vehicle, so have realistic expectations on yourselves and your little one. Walking home from preschool may seem easy enough, but if you have to carry a rocket made of cereal boxes, a still-wet painting and a tired toddler – it can be more of a challenge,’ says a parenting coach and child behavior expert.
But how much of it can be attributed to convenience?
There is definitely something about putting away the stroller that signals the end of babyhood, and for many parents this is a difficult transition.
There are also those toddlers who don’t want to grow up and straight up refuse to walk. For parents who find it hard to permanently park the pram, here are some suggestions.
- Ditching the buggy is indeed a big step, but for maximum success, it needs to be done at a time that is right for everyone.
- Being prepared and having realistic expectations are important factors. A walking little one does not go as fast as a buggy, and they can also get easily distracted, so if your mornings are a rush and your timings are tight, this may not be the best journey to start with.
- If you are juggling more than one child who, when walking, tends to scatter, a buggy can literally be a life saver.
- Getting rid of the buggy does not have to be an all or nothing process.
- If your little one is resistant to being in the buggy but gets tired quickly, consider a buggy board, or maybe choose a scooter or a balance bike (but be aware that they can be super speedy).
- Know your child and make your decisions based on what is best for you and your family.