07/08/2009 04:54 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Ask Joanne - My Son Refuses To Sit In His Pushchair

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Mary asks:

My two and a half year old son is strong willed and I'm finding being out of the house with him is a struggle. This is because he usually refuses to sit in his pushchair so it's harder for me to get from A to B. If he is walking, he wants to stop very often to check out things like cracks in the pavement and bits of rubbish on the street. It is hard for me to get him to hold my hand and walk with me as he protests, but I insist on it when crossing the road and at junctions or when there is any traffic danger.

I understand his curiosity but I find it had to adapt to his pace of life where it might take over half an hour to walk what would take me ten minutes. How can I get him to move faster, at least some of the time when I am in a hurry? He throws tantrums on the street if I try to get him to do it my way.

Here's life coach Joanne's reply:

Dear Mary

It's very frustrating isn't it? You're trying to get somewhere on time, whilst he just wants to see how many ants there are on the pavement.

This is a very normal, though annoying, stage that most parents will encounter. Try not to let it wind you up too much. Like all stages, it will pass.

Your son isn't doing this deliberately to annoy you: he's behaving like a normal two year old. Has he done that thing yet where they make their backs rigid and you practically have to knee them back into the pushchair? I know I'm not the only parent who's had to resort to that.

Establish some ground rules with him - do this before you go out, rather than getting annoyed with him once you're out. Point out the consequences, that if he'll sit in the pram, then you'll get to where you're going and start having fun much quicker. Maybe have a few special little toys that he can only play with when he's sitting in the pram. Make it clear that holding your hand when crossing the road is non-negotiable.

I know many parents have mixed feelings about using reins, but one new gadget you may consider is this child distance monitor, which can make a child feel more independent whilst still letting you know where they are.

If you can, make a point of taking some journeys at his pace, even if that means going two steps forward then three steps back (Look! there's a ladybird over there). Perhaps time your outings for when you know he's tired and may be more grateful for a ride. Accept that at this age, journeys will take longer than they would have if you were just pushing him along with no objections.

And if you're feeling brave, have you thought about ditching the pram for all but the longest journeys? Plenty of people do at two and a half. Before you know it he'll be off on a micro scooter and you'll be asking him to slow down.

Best wishes


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