Your child used to walk and run around happily. When she was younger, she even screamed with rage when you tried to seat her in the stroller because she preferred to move under her own steam.
But why does she now demand to be carried everywhere?
First, check that there is no underlying medical problem causing her to feel more tired than usual.
Next, ask if you’ve expected too much from your child – walking distances reasonable for adults are often too demanding for kids.
The wide, open spaces of a shopping mall can overwhelm a child, even one who normally likes to run all over the place.
Walking is also much more interesting for your child when you do it together, fully engaged with each other.
Asking her to move his little legs as fast as possible to keep up with you at the supermarket – oblivious to her boredom – is likely to lead to her call to be carried.
That’s why it makes sense to chat with your kid while you walk alongside her, sharing where you are going, and chatting about everything she sees.
Sharing the physical activity makes it an enjoyable experience and reduces her desire to be carried.
If you now have to hold her in your arms every time you are out together – or she’ll make a terrible fuss – she needs your help to kick the habit.
Think about your own behaviour.
Do you assume she’ll want to be carried and, so, pick her up even before she asks? Do you lift her in your arms the minute she asks?
If you do, then you are inadvertently encouraging the very habit that you want her to stop.
To develop her enthusiasm for walking, aim for gradual and steady change.
Determine that you won’t lift her the whole distance, no matter how much she asks, whines or screams.
Before you go out, tell your kid that you won’t carry her straight away. This time, she’ll have to walk for a while before you’ll carry her.
Then follow this through, despite any negative reaction she shows.
Don’t give in to her demands for the sake of a quiet life, or her lazy habit will just grow stronger. If she refuses to take any step on her own, explain that you’ll go home without completing the trip.
This strategy will be successful if the purpose of the trip is child-centered – for example, to buy her a toy from the mall or take him to a playground.
The more attractive the goal, the more likely you’ll achieve success. Certainly, threatening to take her out of the boring, busy supermarket if she doesn’t walk is unlikely to make her change her mind!
Acknowledge every success with a big hug.
After she follows through with the agreed amount, carry her if she still wants you to.
The next time you are out, gradually extend the distance she walks and reduce the amount of carry time.
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