Until what age can a baby ride in a stroller? When is a baby ready to be weaned off the stroller? Is it convenient for the baby or the parent? I suspect that the comments won't be clear about that, and the truth is that a lot depends on… the child and the parents. A preschooler doesn't need a stroller, but there are certainly moments when such stroller comes in handy. How long to push a kid around in a stroller, then?I have to admit that whenever I see a 3-to-4-year-old in a stroller, it feels like taking it too far, but then comes a reflection that it's absolutely not up to me to judge why a preschooler is riding in that stroller. Since they are, there must clearly be some reason. And there might be a lot of them: getting tired, not being used to longer strolls, younger siblings, parents' convenience, the necessity to get somewhere fast, fatigue, falling asleep in the car, vacation or a million other reasons :) Either way, the problem with a stroller for bigger kids is that most of the time it just rolls along empty.
Still, unless it's some emergency/convenient situation, it's a good idea to try teaching the baby early to walk on their own. BUT on their own doesn't mean that you end up carrying the child, a toy, the bike, the helmet and groceries :) If that's what it's going to look like, it's better to choose the stroller. Seriously. Don't rush it.
Baby stroller, how long – the theory
Most baby strollers go up to 15 kg, some of them up to 18 kg. Statistically speaking, although many kids weight about 12 kg after a year, their weight doesn't go up quite as fast from there, so they reach 15 kg between the age of 2 and 3. Which I think is a pretty neat determinant :)
How long in a stroller – the practice
In my view, there is a time when the stroller is mostly a convenience to the parent. Sometimes it's a good idea to suck it up and try to walk more and observe the child to see if they can handle it. Just don't force it and make sure you don't end up as a beast of burden :) I can tell you how it was with us (and I'm waiting for your own stories).
The bigger one had been riding in the stroller until he was more or less 2.5 years old, while the younger one until about 20 months old. Why the difference? First of all, the older one started walking at the age of 18 months, which is pretty late, then came the younger one (we all know how it makes the kids want to be like the baby). The turning point was a trip when it simply turned out that he could easily walk around all day and then he kept getting better day by day. The truth is that during all-day strolls the only problem was napping during the day, and the solution was to nap in a shawl or on a blanket :) Still, as recently as few months ago I would sometimes give the kid a ride along the car-to-house route, when we were back home late.
Sometimes I will jog with the Joovy Zoom 360 (you can find its review at babygeartested.com) – it gives me freedom, sometimes I will give my sleeping child a ride, I still keep testing strollers, because I like that, but these are things I do because I want to, and not because the child needs it.
The bottom line is: there are no rules :) Watch your child. If they have started walking late, they're not likely to quit the stroller soon, as everyone grows at their own pace and everyone needs to strengthen their muscles and perfect their achievements. On top of that, a child's spine needs to rest, too.
Hints that it's a good idea to quit the stroller
- you mostly push air
- the stroller's wheels go sideways
- you only bring it along to carry groceries in it
Hints that you don't need to quit the stroller
- you have a child younger than 2 years
- you are a stroller addict (haha)
- you come back from strolls burdened like a mule
- you're going on vacation someplace with a lot of walking