When your toddler starts taking their first steps you are probably going to start wondering about when to retire the stroller and let them walk for themselves. This a delicate transition that needs to be handled carefully.
There is no universal rule about at what age children should stop using a stroller – it is all dependent on each child’s growth and abilities. Although many professionals agree that children past three years old shouldn’t need a stroller anymore. There are some signs you can watch out for that will indicate whether your child is ready to give up the comfort of one. If your child can walk long distances with relative ease and expresses the desire to explore their surroundings on their own, then they’re probably ready to become stroller-independent.
The dangers of overusing strollers
While strollers are very convenient for the parents because they can more easily control where their child is and what they’re doing, overusing strollers is a real disservice to the kids’ health.
Being confined to the stroller all the time isn’t good for the child’s mental development. Kids that can freely walk around develop a sense of curiosity and also a sense of direction. When they are left semi-alone (under adults’ watch, of course), they will also learn about navigating the environment they’re in. By keeping your child in a stroller, you strip them of the opportunity to develop these skills. Your child can grow stagnant and compliant with what they have instead of reaching out for the unknown and expressing their sense of freedom.
Not to mention that not walking is also detrimental to their physical health. Walking is a simple way for a child to get enough of the necessary exercise. If children spend most of the day sitting down, then they risk becoming intimidated by any form of exercise and in later life, might even develop a tendency for obesity.
How to transition from a stroller to walking?
The transition from stroller to feet looks different with every child. Some children don’t want to leave the comfort of being able to sit anywhere while other children will welcome the change and the opportunity to walk on their own. No matter which type your kid belongs to, a good idea for the duration of that transition period is to use a kids wagon. The best wagons are lightweight but sturdy enough to carry your child safely.
A wagon is a great transition vehicle to take with you on longer excursions or when you expect that your child might not be up to a whole day of walking just yet. If the kid gets tired and cranky, you can simply sit them in the wagon and transport them. Because it is a different vehicle from a stroller, the child will still be feeling the excitement of experiencing something new. They also will have a lot more freedom to look around them so they shouldn’t get bored. Additionally, a wagon can also be used to carry other luggage with you which is helpful on any trip.