Quick Tip to Help Preschoolers Who Hate Walking


Most daycare providers have met a child who hates walking for more than two minutes.  Trying to convince a reluctant walker to walk (even a short distance) can be difficult on the adult and the child.  I’ve cared for many children who find it very challenging to walk at a continuous pace from point A to point B.   These kids needed help to build up their leg muscles and alter their negative association with walking.

The first thing I do for a reluctant walker is to provide them with a seat in a stroller or wagon.  Reluctant walkers are often three year olds who are getting too heavy or big to ride.  These kids need time and positive support to see themselves in their new identity as a, “strong walker”.  Pulling them in a wagon for a few months while you slowly help them build up their walking endurance will pay off in the long run.

I also make sure I have a seat available for them so that walking is no longer a battle of wills.  This helps us when we need to hustle to get to the bus stop to pick up another child on time.  It’s much quicker to pull them in a wagon and speed walk down the street than to try to convince an upset child to walk quickly beside you. Pulling older children in a wagon is hard work. I view it as my aerobic workout for the day and a free ticket to eat more ice cream.

When we are out on walks, I encourage the older children to walk as much as possible.  I’ll bend down and invite them to come and see a bug or a flower (which they can only do if they climb out of the wagon) :).  I’ll also challenge them to stomp on leaves or walk on shadows.  Making up little games while they walk keeps them focused and helps them build up the muscles in their legs.

Of course, I also praise their efforts and their increased endurance as walkers as the weeks go on.  Soon, their view of walking changes and they choose to ride in the wagon less and less.

Here is how I attach a utility strap (I use a Snowboarding Leash) from my double stroller to my wagon.



This makes it easy to have a few extra wagon seats available when needed.  The utility strap is easy to clip on and off in a few seconds.  I prefer to use my sturdy double bike trailer type stroller when I pull the wagon rather than the double umbrella Combi stroller. The bike trailer stroller handles the weight of the wagon better. It’s also helpful to use two straps so that the wagon follows behind me and doesn’t bump my leg while I walk.



The second strap you see in the photo is a Child Stroller Handle It’s a strap that attaches to the side of your stroller and has a large circular handle for the child to grasp. It is a helpful tool if you have an easily distracted walker and a busy intersection. A caregiver I know prefers to tie a utility strap around her waist to pull her wagon as she pushes her stroller.

I’ve discovered that many preschoolers love to pull the wagon themselves while out on walks.  They might complain about walking one minute and then will happily walk AND pull a wagon all the way home!

May all your walks be filled with smiles and eager feet.


  1. K from London ON says

    Cool. Thanks for the pictures. I also needed the reminder to make the walk more interesting. I’m often too focused on getting from A to B And forget to stop and smell the roses…or look for snails or hop like a bunny…..all things that you miss out on if you insist on sitting because of tired legs. My daughter (3 1/2) is the worst for moaning about tired legs before we are one house away from our driveway. We were recently invited to join a friend walk their little dog and would you believe my little lazy legs walked 6 blocks and I pushed an empty buggy. Not a single mention of tired legs while she waited for her turns to hold the dog leash. It was a walking miracle!