“Leave the stroller at home” challenge

My son and I had a great experience with the baby carrier.

When my son was born, we carried him in the infant car seat. We fit the infant car seat fit into a brand-new stroller. But once he was old enough to sit in the stroller, we stopped using it — I preferred my Tommee Tippee EZ Pack Baby Carrier (I’m not affiliated with the company; great product, terrible brand name), a hip carrier that left my arms free, kept me balanced, and let me talk to my son. I carried him with me wherever I went. We rarely used the stroller, and it gathered dust in the garage. When he was old enough to walk, we walked; he quickly built up strength and endurance.

But when I look around, I see more and more strollers, with more and more kids sitting comfortably in their strollers instead of moving around or showing much interest in their surroundings.

So here is my challenge for parents with young children: As soon as your child can walk a fair distance without getting over-tired, generally between 1-2 years, leave the stroller at home. 

Sure, strollers are convenient: tired kids can plop down and relax, drinks go into the cup holders, diaper bags fit into the storage area. Strollers make you feel safer when taking your kids to a busy shopping mall or on a long walk. A lot of kids have to learn to sit quietly in the stroller; it doesn’t come naturally.

When kids walk, instead of ride, they get more exercise and build their leg muscles. Walking helps them become independent and gives them permission to be curious, to explore the world around them. Walking gives kids a chance to talk with their parents, hold hands and share hugs. Walking gives you an excuse to stroll unhurriedly and rest along the way, instead of rushing from place to place.

If you have a young child, leave the stroller at home every once in a while. Watch your child’s curiosity and enthusiasm as you walk down the street, down store aisles, and in the mall. When they get tired, take a break, look around, and watch other people hurry by.

Can you leave your stroller at home, starting with one day a week? Can you suggest that others leave their strollers at home?

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