Why does your big kid still want to sit in the stroller when you go out?
Although she can jump and run steadily, she still demands her stroller whenever you take her out. She makes a terrible fuss if you don’t give in.
You’re frustrated that she relies too much on it.
But as a sensible precautionary measure, check that there is no underlying medical problem causing her to feel more tired than her peers, or if she’s experiencing discomfort in her hips and legs.
Chances are, there is nothing physically wrong with her, but there is no harm in speaking to your family doctor. A quick examination should soon rule out this possibility.
If your child has already established a put-me-in-my-stroller pattern, she needs your help to kick the habit.
How to wean your kid off the stroller
Aim for gradual and steady change, rather than expecting an instant transformation.
Tell yourself that you won’t use the stroller for a specific amount of time – say, 20 minutes – no matter how much she asks, whines or screams.
Before you leave home, tell her that she has to walk for a while before she can sit in the stroller.
Then follow this through, despite any negative reaction she shows. Don’t give in to her demands.
If she refuses to take a step, explain that you’ll go home immediately. This strategy will be successful if the purpose of the trip is child-centred – for example, to buy her a toy from the mall or to take her to the playground.
The more attractive the goal, the more likely you are to achieve success. Certainly, threatening to take her out of a boring, busy supermarket if she doesn’t walk is unlikely to make her change her mind!
(Also read: 8 bus-friendly strollers you should consider buying)
Check your behaviour, too
Think about your own behaviour, as well. Do you assume that she wants to sit in the stroller and you put her in it even before she asks, just to save time? Do you lift her into it the minute she makes a request?
If you do, then you are encouraging the very habit that you want to stop.
You should also consider the possibility that you have unrealistic expectations of your toddler when it comes to walking.
Distances you can cover easily are often too demanding for young children.
The wide open spaces of a shopping mall can overwhelm a young child, even one who normally likes to run all over the place.
Walking is also much more interesting when you interact with her as you walk alongside each other. Tell her where she is going, what she can expect and chat about the things she sees.
This makes the experience more enjoyable, and reduces her desire to be in the stroller or in your arms. She will also like the attention that you’re giving her.
Finally, acknowledge every success with a big hug. After she walks the agreed distance, let her sit in the stroller if she still wants to.
The next time you are out together, gradually extend how far she walks.
(Also read: How to buy the perfect baby stroller)