Wearing a Preschooler

Older Children Benefit from Child Wearing, Too

While baby wearing is generally a practice people associate with babies toddlers enjoy being carted around by their parents too. Since toddlers are more independent, they won’t spend as much time in slings as babies, but there are still mountains of benefits a toddler can gain from their parents wearing them.

Most baby slings, pouches, and carriers are designed to hold children up to 35 to 45 pounds, which means both you and your preschooler can still enjoy the bonding, security and learning experiences of being worn. As preschoolers learn more and more about their world around them, they also need reassurances from their parents that some things, like the love and security they've known at home, will always remain a constant. No matter how independent and strong-willed your four or five year old may be, there's still a part of him that still needs mommy and daddy. Slings, pouches and carriers can assist you by providing a safe and secure way for you to carry your little person, without straining your back in the process.

By the time your child has reached preschool age, his vocabulary is clear enough to carry on conversations. Baby wearing gives you the ability to make eye contact with your preschooler while you’re standing upright. This makes your conversations more engaging and lets your preschooler know you value the things he’s saying. It's also easier to carry on a conversation when you're both at the same level, instead of one of you being two feet (or more) taller than the other.

Preschoolers can learn practical life skills by watching you conduct various household and outside chores. Just remember to stay away from hot surfaces and open flames. When you wear your preschooler, he feels like an active participant in your life. He gets to see the things you see and experience life from a totally different perspective.

It may seem like preschoolers have unlimited energy and are constantly on the go. However, even preschoolers get tired and agitated on long family outings and events, even when they're at super fun places like the zoo, fairs, amusement parks, the beach, air shows, balloon races and yes - even DisneyLand. Under normal circumstances, a preschooler would have to wait until he gets home, back to the car, or to the hotel room to rest. He's too big for a stroller or wagon, and few moms and dads can carry 35 lbs for a long period of time without their back or arms screaming in protest. With a baby carrier, sling, or pouch, you can simply put him in a carrier and allow him to lay his head on your chest, against your back, or on your shoulder so he can rest comfortably and your arms, neck, shoulder and back won't suffer the strain of carrying him around.

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.

Charles R. Swindoll

If you love being outdoors, there's no need to limit your enjoyment, even if your hike might be a little long for a preschooler. A short hike or walk around a rose garden for you can seem like miles to a preschooler, as his little legs can only carry him so far. Even if he starts off walking with you, he may quickly tire out and you’ll probably have to pick him up and carry him home. Using a sling will allow you to put your preschooler on your hip or back, and continue your outdoor adventures without missing a beat. When you're done, simply put the sling, pouch or carrier in a backpack or purse, and off you go.

There's a saying that says babies start out small, and get larger, so that parents can develop the muscles, strength and stamina to pick them up, and put them down, and pick them up, and put them down again. The up and down movements required to lift a preschooler can take a toll on your back. Using a baby carrier reduces the strain on your back by limiting the number of number of times you have to bend down to pick your child up, especially at attractions such as zoos, aquariums, or other places where railings obstruct the view if you're under four feet tall.

Preschool, classrooms, church programs, camps, playgroups, and childhood friendly gatherings, bring with them a variety of childhood illnesses, flu bugs, and bumps and bruises. Usually the best way to make a preschooler who is not feeling well or has had a traumatic experience (like falling out of a tree, off the bike, or simply got up on the wrong side of the bed) is to offer one-on-one snuggle time. Preschoolers really need the security they feel when cuddled and reassured by the people that love them. The advantage of a sling or baby carrier is you can still provide snuggle time, but without straining your back and shoulders, and keeping your hands free. This is very helpful if a trip to the doctor, clinic, or hospital is in the schedule for the day.

Almost all baby slings, wraps, pouches, and carriers have been safety-tested for up to 35 lbs. Some have been tested up to 45 lbs. or above, but you should always check with the manufacturer's recommendations when carrying larger children. While it is important to check your carrier every time you use it, regardless of your little's age for rips, tears, or signs of damage (including any rings, buckles, seams, and the material itself), this becomes even more important with preschoolers - you don't use the sling as much, so there might be snags and tears or other damage which occurred when your sling was in storage. A popped seam, small tear, or damaged clip can quickly become a problem when strained with 35 lbs. of active preschooler.

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