Older Children and Pushchair Judgement

What age should children stop using a pushchair? What age were your children when they stopped using a pushchair? For us, there is no end in sight to our pushchair days and it’s something I thought I should write about.

LP is going to be five in August. Little Man has just turned three. So we should be nearly pushchair free, shouldn’t we?

Well, no. We shouldn’t.

You see, using a pushchair is pretty much like every other parenting decision – when to stop breastfeeding, when to stop using bottles, when to get the children into a set routine, when to potty train. Using a pushchair is just the same – there is no right or wrong answer.

LP has always been really petite and lacks stamina when walking. Her walk to school is a mile each way and often it is just too much for her so we have been using our Silver Cross Surf and buggy board since she started preschool. This means that every day Little Man is in the pushchair as he can’t really walk long distances either.

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When the next school year starts in September, and Little Man starts preschool, we are going to try and get rid of the buggy board, using a simple stroller to take Little Man to preschool and LP can walk by the side. We’re hoping by that point she’ll be more used to walking that distance and it won’t be as hard for her. Then, when the time comes, Little Man can walk to school too – it’s a shame he can’t use a buggy board himself – the problem with being the last baby!

But the school run is only one of the times we use a pushchair. We also use a double stroller when we go on long days out – on our regular trips to Legoland, to National Trust properties or on a trip to the seaside. Neither LP or Little Man can endure a whole day out without at least a spell or two in the pushchair and it has space for all our bags, coats and other stuff underneath too, making a day out easier for all of us.

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But on those days out, where we have a nearly five year old and three year old in a double stroller, we do attract attention. Mainly because, despite their age difference, LP and Little Man can pass as twins and people often comment on that. When I say no, there’s 20 months between them people do the maths and ask which is older, and I then say that LP is nearly five, Little Man is three and they typically give the stroller a double take – or, sometimes, comment on the fact we’re still using a pushchair.

They don’t comment out of interest or curiosity, they comment because they are taken aback that we would still be using a pushchair with a child aged nearly five. Their comments or questions are heavy with judgement and, the first time, made me feel like I was doing something wrong and made me think that, maybe, at nearly five, LP shouldn’t be using a pushchair.

But then I looked at our life. I looked at LP and Little Man and I realised that actually I know what is best for them and I know a time will come where we won’t be using the pushchair any more, the children will be able to walk longer distances and won’t get so exhausted on a long day out. The children will walk to school and they will hop, skip and jump between the rides at Legoland and our pushchair days will be long behind us.

But for now we will keep doing what suits our family. We’ll use a pushchair and a buggy board for the school run – at some point dropping the board. We’ll use a double buggy on long days out and in time that will stop to.

Before I know it we’ll be carrying backpacks of stuff rather than putting it under the pushchair, we’ll be carrying school bags and we’ll have much more space in the car boot. But until then we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing.

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19 thoughts on “Older Children and Pushchair Judgement

  1. Everyone has to do what is right for them. You know your children and family. My son has been riding a balance bike since he was two years and with pedals from 3 years so that’s similar- wheels to take some of the strain from a long walk. We also love in the country and there are stiles and gates that you can’t get a pushchair through and so have had no choice. I’m lucky, he’s been able to walk about 4 miles since he was 3yrs old so a day out at a theme park is fine but I almost took a scooter to pull him on for our first day out in London as I thought the tubes could get too much. He blew my mind though and managed much better than me!
    Hannah * Hannah Spannah recently posted…Retraining after being MummyMy Profile

  2. My girls are three in a few weeks and will start nursery in September. We walk to school everyday but the thought of walking with them by the main roads fills me with fear as they like to run and hate being restricted and whilst most people with kids their age have ditched the pushchair by now I can’t see me being able to. Like you say it is completely personal and I think I’ll have a few words with people telling me what I should be doing

  3. After always saying I’d never use a double we have got one for the school run now. LM will be four in September but she’s little for her age and I really struggle to get her to walk when we are limited by having to be somewhere on time. The double is invaluable for the school run and is my only way of getting LM to nursery and Bud to school in the morning stress free. I know her nursery headteacher thinks she should be walking but you need to do what’s best for you. LM can get out and walk any time she asks (unless we’re running late).
    Pippa Ainsworth recently posted…HP Envy 5540 with Instant Ink – ReviewMy Profile

  4. You can’t win whatever you do. My little girl is almost 2 but tiny so looks a lot younger (still wears 6-9 month clothes) and she likes to walk everywhere. I get people judging me for NOT having a pushchair.
    These people see about five seconds of our day and don’t have a clue. We have to remember we are their parents and we know best. I think they’ll let you know when it’s time to give up the pushchair. Until then, you’re doing the best for YOUR kids
    Janet Yarwood recently posted…Allergy Alphabet – N is for NurseryMy Profile

  5. You have to do what’s right for you. We personally did away with our pushchairs when the kids no longer wanted them. Which, unlucky for us was around the 2yrs mark. Have you ever tried forcing a child into the straps of a pushchair? Yeah. It’s awful! So we just did away with the buggy, got reins and dealt with the occasional ‘on shoulders’ request or popped them into the papoose we had {loved ours!}.
    Super Busy Mum recently posted…Show off your photos, with Cheerz!My Profile

  6. I totally agree. It’s really a decision for the family and what works for them. I used a pushchair a handful of times with Libby and hated it. Totally inconvenient with two big dogs so I started using a ring sling. This was so perfect for us that Lia has never been in a pushchair. Both of mine are a bit like me now, happy to walk or run all day. I haven’t carried either of them since they were 18 months. I did get a lot of judgment for carrying them as they got bigger and people with false pity that we ‘couldn’t afford a buggy’. But as you know I’m no stranger to telling people where to stick it, so they got it with both barrels. You’ve got to do what works for you and if anyone makes harsh comments about your buggy, please feel free to send them my way for an ear bashing 😉
    Nat.x
    Plutonium Sox recently posted…Izabela Peters Children’s Teepee: ReviewMy Profile

  7. People need to just keep their opinions to themselves don’t they? As a general rule G doesn’t use one as it is now LJs but there have been times when LJ has gone into daddy’s shoulders so G can have a rest. There is a little girl (coming up to 5) at school who has a 3 mile walk to and from school each day- her mum pushes her in a pushchair and rightly so. If they need them then use them, if they don’t then don’t. Don’t let anyone else’s judgement affect your own. xx

  8. I don’t know about anyone else, but my 4 year old gets really tired after a long day out. We haven’t got a pushchair for him anymore as it got damaged in storage. I wish we still had one for those days to prevent the incessant complaints of how sore his legs are and that he’s tired. X

  9. I’m with you on this. My boy will be 4 the end of August. We are still using a push chair. It’s a double buggy in fact. we tend to do lots of walks at the weekend. There is no way we could this with Matthew walking. First of all it would take us all day and second he’s want to be lifted after 20 mins. Well be using it until he starts school definitely which is next year.

  10. At the end of the day, every child is different and only you know what is best for them! People can think whatever they want but as long as your kids are happy and healthy, that’s all that matters.

  11. I completely agree with this! Why should it be anyones decision but your own? Your little ones are still little, and they still have little legs, and get tired easily. Why should they walk if they don’t have to? I was recently critisised for putting my 2 year old in a pushchair! (2 years old! Crazy!) But I too use my double buggy all the time, In fact I have the same one as you! I don’t drive, so when I have to do the big weekly shop, I couldn’t possibly do it without the double buggy! I use it all the time, apart from when I take my little girlie to nursery, as that’s about a minute walk, and she does enjoy the freedom.

    But no, it’s no one elses decision.
    Great post. Thanks for sharing.
    Sarah xx

  12. Completely agree with what you are doing, you are following your children’s lead and you (and they) know the walk to and from school can be horrid. We also have a 2 mile round trip on our school run, we no longer use pushchairs (unless poorly) but the kids manage the “walk” there using bikes or scooters. Leah adores her balance bike and Lewis his bmx so it makes for a speedy and such easy walk with no arguments from the kids. Had we have any majorly busy roads to walk by the kids probably wouldn’t have their bikes but we adapt our journey to allow them to ride which is best for us. X
    Clearlybex recently posted…Siblings – May 2016My Profile

  13. I think it’s purely a matter of what works for you. We had a double but didn’t end up using it for long. My small boy wanted to walk from a very early age & gradually the pushchair fell by the wayside in favour of scooters. Also we got the bus a lot & it’s not v pram friendly so our buggy use went down a lot in favour of the sling. They are both big for their age too. Like most things, someone will have an opinion however you do it!!

  14. Hi Donna,

    There is no right or wrong when it comes to parenthood. If you feel that pushchair should not be taken away from your children, they don’t do it. As far as you follow your instincts as a mother, then everything should fall in place.

    Zaria

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