Many parents I meet who are interested in learning about babywearing assume they will be done carrying their child when they are able to walk independently. But as their children get older they find that the tool continues to be helpful in new ways.
Wearing an older child can be useful for keeping them safe in crowded places. Ever try pushing a stroller around a crowded farmers market or street fair? How about trying to hold on to a three-year-old’s hand at the zoo? There are so many situations that can be made easier and safer by securely carrying a child in a carrier.
And then there’s the day to day. Children from ages 2 to 5 tend to have very big feelings they don’t yet have the tools to handle. This can manifest as temper tantrums, poor attitudes, and other behaviors that can be very challenging for parents. Often parents see this as a discipline issue and use time outs or other tools to eliminate the behaviors. While that may sometimes be necessary, some parents see an unmet need. Young children get tired out suddenly, they go go go! until they just can’t anymore and they melt down, seemingly out of nowhere. Sometimes they need to check in with home base. Babywearing can help an older child settle down. They reconnect with their caregiver, getting the cuddles and attention they need, and the motion of the adult is soothing as well. Babywearing can help an older child settle down, often even falling asleep if they had been resisting a nap before.
If you have a child that wants to “help” and participate in everything you do, you can use babywearing so they can be a part of your daily activities while keeping them safe and somewhat out of the way. I have cooked many meals with a little one on my back. They can see what I’m doing and I can talk to them and interact with them and even let them pour things in a pan or help in small ways. All without being afraid of them touching the stove or being underfoot at the wrong moment.
Whether you’re keeping your child safe and close by in a store or at an event or just trying to keep sane and get your work done babywearing is a tool and skill that stays valuable for many years. All humans need touch and comfort, it doesn’t end when they are walking and talking. Babywearing is one wonderful way to keep your child close and comforted. Luckily, there are many fantastic quality carriers that are safe to use as long as you can comfortably carry your child!