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The Joy of Walking Around with Kids

Recently a question came up (if you haven't checked out Winnie yet you should, it's kinda awesome!)  If you hang out with two toddlers is it worth getting a double strollers, and at what age are kids done with strollers?  I love having never had a stroller, so I was of no use on the two-seat vs. single seat part of the question.

As for the 'when are kids done with strollers?' part, I think the age for being done with the stroller for good largely depends on what the parent and the kid want to do.  My really short answer is the kids here were done with the wrap when they turned two.  Between two and three I occasionally had to hip carry or put them on my shoulders while I had the younger kid in the wrap, but for the most part they were down on the ground, and walking with the rest of the gang.

Now for the longer answer just because I’ve had so much fun not having a stroller and walking around with the kids.  :)

As each of the kids learned to walk, I took them out of the wrap as often as they wanted—which was most of the time they were awake—so they could walk with me.  It was really slow going at first, but by the time they were two each of them could walk a mile.  While they were coming up to speed, (pun totally intended), even when they were a little too big for it, I wore the wrap because I could still use it to support a hip carry if they were too tired.

I’ve loved the advantages all of this bought.  I think the kids are more engaged with our neighborhood and the people in it because they’re down on the ground interacting with everything and everyone.  They’re all best-buddies with the gentlemen who own our neighborhood package/convenience store.  We have to warn each new nanny that the gang is going to drag them into a package store to make introductions :)  The gang are also best buddies with a woman who retired a few blocks away, and walks her dog through the neighborhood at the same time they’re out.

The kids all know how to get places on foot in several San Francisco neighborhoods.  No. 2’s (who is now five, but was two when we moved here),  version of ‘toddlers prefer routines’ was to insist that nannies follow the walking routes he was used to down to the side of the street..

We were very careful with making sure each kid learned about intersections.  San Francisco’s ADA provisions made this super easy.  All the corners have wheelchair ramps that have a set of grooved lines about four feet behind them.  All the kids have learned that that’s where they stop and wait for us.  Oh!  Also, as long as I’m espousing the beauty of SF for kids, all the street names are etched into the sidewalk at intersections, which is a huge plus for learning letters!  Anyway, since they’ve all learned to stop at every intersection, it’s been so nice to have them running up to a block ahead of us where we can keep an eye on them easily without having to worry if they’re keeping up or where they are behind us.  It also gives the kids time to look at things in windows and interact with passersby without having to stop the forward progress of the whole group.

And now, having summed up what I love about not having strollers, I’ll go quietly beam for a bit, and then get back to work :)

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