Rebecca wrote a great post recently at Green Baby Guide that got me thinking about the impact of kids personalities on walking for transport with small children. Rebecca is a carfree mom with a fantastically unmotivated walker, and she bemoans the constant judgment of parents who push “big kids” in strollers even though no one really bats an eyelash at someone driving their kindergartner a few blocks to school. It also sounds like she’s done some pretty impressive rocky-style walk training to get her daughter hoofing it to kindergarten on her own steam. We’re big fans of getting kids walking for transport ASAP, and I’ve definitely done a few double takes at 5-year-olds in strollers, but I see her point.
Rebecca’s post reminded me that we best take some of our own advice and get cracking on the “walk training” with R. At 2 1/2, he hasn’t expressed quite the same intense internal drive to walk himself that H did at that age, and what with the new fancy bike around these parts, we’re perfectly happy to pedal him most anywhere. Throw in that our days have more time constraints than they used to because of his older sister’s school schedule, and you can see why he has been getting toted around passively a bit more than H at the same age. Thankfully, despite our neglect in this department, he has benefitted from solid time with his non-biking stroller-shirking grandmother, so all hope is not lost.
So partially on purpose and partially due to recent snowfall, we’ve been having R do more independent walking for transportation, and have realized he’s not actually ”unmotivated.” We were making the mistake of often asking him if he wanted to take the stroller, and he would say “yes,” and was perfectly content to just ride along, so that’s what we did, especially since we were probably in a rush to get somewhere. But if we simply don’t offer the stroller, he’s perfectly content to walk, and as it turns out, walks along at a pretty good clip.
There is one slight glitch. At the end of a long day, he’s apt to say, in a very serious voice “Mama…I too tired to walk.” He’ll say this over and over, with a fluctuating amount of whine involved. But here’s the kicker, he’ll just keep walking. He doesn’t even slow his pace really, and can often be distracted with a game of running to the next tree, so I’ve been able to pretty much ignore the whining without even having to try.
At a similar age, H would fiercely insist that she could walk by herself, that she had absolutely no need for a stroller. But once presented with the walk itself, she would dawdle fantastically (walking with her still can involve a lot of urging). She was having a blast, but man did she enjoy driving us crazy by not actually *going* anywhere. We eventually got this behavior mostly kicked, but have found that now that there is snow and we’re walking a bit more often, we’re having to push through a fresh round of whining with her as well. I trust she’ll adjust here shortly (but I can’t really blame her for wanting to bike…).
So, it appears that R may not be as unmotivated as he first appeared, and that his walking might actually be pretty good from the transportation point of view (for a two-year-0ld anyway) which is an awfully nice surprise. We’ll see how he fares as the distances increase, but for now, thanks for the nudge to get him out on the sidewalk, Rebecca.