Babies already start out in life as fat and stupid, but apparently extending their stroller use beyond the age of two will keep them that way. And that's horrible because we all know there's nothing more disgusting than a silly, happy, chubby toddler.
None of this is based on any kind of research or study, but some guesswork and anecdotal evidence of author Wayne Curtis who contends that keeping kids in strollers till a later age is contributing to childhood obesity, mostly because it restricts their opportunities to burn calories. But Curtis says that longer stroller use has other effects beyond weight issues.
Language development may be impeded — kids can’t watch their parents’ faces as they talk which is, in part, how they learn about words and contextual meaning.
And always being pushed here and there eliminates having to make small, constant decisions — such how to navigate around minor obstacles, or maintain a sense of where they are by using their muscles and proprioceptive abilities. “The need and opportunity for children to make independent decisions occurs constantly during mobility,” Jessica Rose and James G. Gamble noted in Human Walking, “teaching children that they have their own unique wishes and desires, a critical step in socioemotional development.”
But what are parents supposed to do? Let their two-year-olds walk around malls and grocery stores so they can explore the world and make decisions? Did you ever see the kind of decisions that two-year-olds make when confronted with stacks of sale items at the end of aisles? Just thinking about how long it would take getting from point A to point B in New York City with a walking toddler is exhausting and terrifying. The hoards of people! The subway steps! The subway platform! And kids are so slow with their little legs, they'd never manage to get across the width of Park Avenue before the timer on the walk/don't walk sign runs out. Curtis didn't present any suggestions.
But humans are constantly adapting to the new problems created by new technology by creating other technology to compensate for whatever is lacking. For example, while staying in strollers for more time might affect a child's development with language and comprehension, things like iPads and toy blocks and flip books do a lot to pick up the slack. And anyone who has a toddler knows that they are kind of wild and do plenty to expend a lot of energy, even if it just means spinning around in circles really fast for no reason until they fall down. So, truly, the only obstacles that strollers present are for the child-free people trying to walk around them on crowded sidewalks.
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