Today I’m feeling a bit controversial. I don’t usually rant or voice my opinion on here. But this is something that has bugged me for a long time! When I was growing up, 75% of my time was spent playing outside. Whether it be riding a bike, learning to skate or building a den. I only played inside when it was raining or too cold. I remember my sister had a trike, she loved her trike, she couldn’t (ahem, refused to) use the pedals so she pushed herself along with her feet. We learnt to ride our bikes at a young age too, stabilisers were screwed on and off we went. And with a bit of parental mentoring we learnt quickly how to pedal ourselves.
Nowadays all I see are children being pushed about. I keep seeing people strapping their babies into ‘smart’ trikes. Their babies can’t hold onto the handlebars, let alone reach the pedals. It’s just a glorified, slightly ridiculous looking pushchair! And even when they can reach the pedals, they’re still pushed about. Bikes also have these massive sticks sticking out of them. WHY?! If your child wants to learn to ride a bike, they don’t need you pushing them around all of the time. If they don’t want to learn to pedal, tell them you won’t help. I’m sure that will motivate them!
Pushchairs. Why do we seem to keep our children in them for so long? A month after I turned two, my sister arrived in the world, my mum had a single pushchair, so I walked the 2 mile round trip back and forth to the village most days. There were no such things as buggy boards, so if I was really tired I would stand on the bar at the back but it was rare. Nowadays, I frequently see children who are 3 or even 4, still being pushed around. I can’t wait until I have children who are old enough for us to stop lugging a buggy around. Having to always make sure I have parked the car so I can get it easily in and out of the boot.
When I have my second child a double buggy won’t be on my list of things to buy. Unless the age gap is 2 years or less I personally don’t see why you would need one. Being able to walk a fair distance is a skill I want my child to have. To be able to walk a decent distance (I’m not talking about a marathon here, just a mile or two!) without complaining they’re tired or can’t do it.
Of course, I’m not going around judging people. I don’t look at every child in a pushchair and ‘judge’ them. There are many reasons why you may use it for an extended time, whether it be a visible or invisible disability. This is just my experience, with people I know directly or indirectly.
I personally just feel like all these sorts of products just encourage our children to not do things for themselves. To rely on us to do things for them and by doing this we then make it too easy for our children to become lazy. I know there are lots of children who are very active and maybe these things have made no effect on their fitness. But there are lots of children who aren’t active, and walking anywhere is a real struggle. We may be busy, but are we really any busier than our parents were? Do we do it for an easier life? I don’t know.
Obviously, this being said I can see why you may use a pushchair for longer. You may take it as a back up, if your child gets tired out from walking. You may use it as a restraint when it’s busy out, or even as a safety measure. It can even be used as a punishment, and I am sure if your little one loves running about they aren’t too happy to be bundled back into their buggy! But do we rely on them too heavily?
Can’t we just go back to the days when trikes and bikes didn’t have push along sticks hanging off the back of them? When children were encouraged to be active and to do things for themselves. Maybe we can’t, but I’m sure going to try for mine!