They say parents of babies and toddlers don't need the gym anymore because they've already built up muscle from carrying their little ones. And even when your 2-year-old already knows how to walk by himself, it’s typical behavior that he still wants to be carried a lot.
“He may like being held by you because it's comforting. At this age, your toddler is still very dependent on you,” said Jill Irving, an expert panelist for BabyCentre UK. There are a couple of other advantages of being in mom or dad’s arms too. She added, “When you lift your toddler, her view expands from legs and wheels to the world as you see it. When she's in your arms, she can see your face and hear what you are saying more easily.”
Still, having to carry your toddler all the time can be tiring! Here are a few ways to encourage your little one to walk on her own: 1. Interact and play while walking Imagine the world from your toddler’s perspective: walking through a crowd of tall adults and being only slightly above knee height from everyone else can be no fun. So keep connecting with your tot as you hold her her hand and make your way. From time to time, crouch down to make eye contact and to talk to her.
You can also make walking more fun, said What to Expect, by making up games and singing songs. You can stomp your feet to a marching rhythm, make up a rule not to step on cracks on the floor or simply point out interesting things around you.
2. Build distance If your child is not used to walking, building distance can be one way of letting her get used to walking on her own. For example, “tell your toddler that if she walks to the big tree, then you will carry her from there to the corner,” said Irving. Slowly increase the distance she has to walk and, with luck and a little encouragement, she’ll hopefully be able to walk to the corner store and back without you having to carry her.
3. Play to your child's want to feel “grown up” Toddlerhood is an interesting age for your child. She’s in the middle of being a baby, but she also wants to be a big kid already. “We call it ‘the circle of security’ -- they want to go out and be independent, and then come back to feel safe and calm with a parent and then be independent again,” Tanis Shanks, a social worker and a parenting program trainer, told Today's Parent.
Use this to your advantage and make your tot feel like a big kid when out and about. If you’re shopping, give him the important job of being your assistant and let him hold one or two of your items. You can also let him bring his backpack as a big kid would.
4. Adjust to your child’s walking Toddlers have short legs, so they have to take more steps to cover the same distance as an adult. It can make them slower than you, and it makes them easily tired. Plan your day out with this in mind. Don’t rush, try to keep the walking brief, and take breaks. If you’re planning to have a whole day at the mall, a stroller is always an option.
5. Have patience and try not to worry about it. According to Shanks, wanting to be carried a lot of the time is normal toddler behavior, and you won’t be spoiling your child by giving in to her requests to be carried. Try not to show frustration when your child asks, and instead compliment her whenever she cooperates to walk on her own. Remember, this phase will pass, and before you know it, your little one will be too big to carry!