‘I can’t get my daughter into the buggy without a fuss, and since I live in the city, sometimes it is absolutely necessary in order to get from one place to another in a hurry.’
Toddlerhood is full of ‘catch-22’s’. Typically, toddlers won’t let you put on their shoes, even though they can’t yet do the job themselves. They won’t nap, even though they’re tried and cranky. They won’t ride in the buggy, even though they can’t walk fast enough to get you where you want to go when you need to get there.
Nobody said it was going to be easy (if anybody did, they probably never had a toddler).Toddlers and convenience are often incompatible, and since you’re obviously not going to give up the former, you’ll need to make concessions in regard to the later. Though it’s worth trying the following tips, it’s also worth accepting one of the realities of life with a toddler: getting there is rarely twice the fun, but it does generally take twice the time.
- Empathize. When your toddler starts grumbling, ‘No buggy!’ or once in yeils, ‘Get out!’ be understanding ‘I know you don’t want to ride in the buggy, but we don’t have time for you to walk right now. You can walk when we get near the house (or the shop, or the playground)
- Don’t make the buggy a source of conflict. It’s a law of toddler nature: the more an issue appears to mean to parents, the more the child will fight you on it. So come across as cool as you can, unperturbed by your toddler’s attempts to resist the buggy, unruffled by her pleas to be released.
- Switch positions. If your toddler’s buggy is reversible and she’s riding in the forward position, switch her around so she’s facing you – and vice versa If she’s been facing you, switch the other way and give her a chance to view the wide world.
- Stock up on diversions. Attach a number of little playthings to your toddler’s buggy (if you use a ribbon or cord, make sure it’s no more than 15 cm/6 inches long; better still, use plastic links). Miniature musical instruments make for an entertaining ride – if you’re not headed to the library, a museum or another place where quiet is mandatory. Rotate the diversion often; that way, they’re more likely to remain pleasant pastimes.
- Keep talking, keep singing. Point out dogs, pretty flowers, display in shop windows, centre mixers and tow truck Chat about where you’re going and what you’re going to be doing. Break into a rousing chorus of ‘The wheels of the buggy go round and round’. Nonstop talking and singing may succeed (at least, sometimes) in distracting your toddler – and keep her from complaining. Once she starts recognizing colours, letters and numbers, you can play the ‘spotting game’; the first on to spot the colour red, the letter, ‘A’, the number ‘2’, wins.
- Let her walk. Put yourself in your toddler’s shoes: she’s only just learned to get around on two feet and she’s being denied the pleasure of praticising and exploring. So when it’s feasible (even if it means leaving a little earlier or arriving a little later), let your toddler walk. Having her ‘help’ you push the buggy (assuming she’ll let you share the task) can keep her in step with you, as will holding hands. Let her walk as long as her little legs hold out; if she gets tired enough, she may even ask longingly for that buggy.
‘My son doesn’t want to ride in the buggy any more – now, he only wants to push it, This wouldn’t be so bad, except that he pushes it into everyone and everything When I try to take it away from him, he has a screaming fit. What can I do?’
The drive to gain control propels a toddler – whether it’s control over what’s served for breakfast, over bed-time, or over the steering of his buggy. In the latter case, this drive can propel him (and the buggy) into the heels of a pedestrian, the trunk of a tree, the shelves at the supermarket, the papers stacked neatly at the newstand, the flower bed in the park – annoying, destroying and possibly putting himself in danger.
Although in some areas where toddlers crave control, it’s possible (even desirable) to hand it over, it clearly isn’t appropriate in the case of the runaway buggy. Instead:
- Leave the source of conflict at home. Getting around without a buggy may not be easy, but it may be easier than trying to get around with a toddler pushing his own buggy. If necessary, put off walking trips that can’t be accomplished without a buggy, or make them car or public-transport trips.
- Help him sit it out. If you make riding in the buggy attractive enough, he may not press so hard to push it.
- Lend a helping hand. Try to sneak a guiding hand onto the buggy (without your toddler noticing, of course), allowing him to push ‘without pushing himself into trouble. Distract him from your surreptitious interference with a song or by pointing out interesting sights as you go. If he catches you helping him and protests (as toddlers who want to do it themselves are want to do), don’t make a control issue out of it. Instead of saying ‘I need to help you push because you’re not big enough,’ which will only irk him more, try something like, ‘Oh, I’m resting my hand because it’s tired. You’re giving it a nice ride’. Maybe he’ll buy it, may be won’t – but it’s worth a try. Or tell him he can push, but only with your help.
- Let him push on something his own size. A child-size buggy or trolley is much easier for a toddler to keep on course than a full-size one (and is wonderful for imaginative play at home, too). And since toy buggies are lighter, they’re less likely to inflict damage when pushed to someone’s heels or a store display. (Remember that he’ll still need a hand pushing it across the street, for safety’s sake.) Bring the pint-size buggy along only on short trips; otherwise you could end up carrying him and his buggy when his legs give out.