Enticing Mr/Ms Independent on to your back
Many toddlers go through an independent phase when they don’t want to be worn at all, or only in certain carriers/carries. Emmy became very resistant to back carries at about 20 months and would scream and struggle if I tried to put her on my back. Here are few tips to get you through this phase with your sanity intact.
Remember that this is often just a phase. A few months later, they may realise how lucky they are to get to ride everywhere! My three-year-old is now happy to be worn any time, in any carrier, and enjoys trying out and demonstrating new carriers.
Try a different carry or a different carrier. Hip carries in a ring sling became our standby during the back-carry strike. It wasn’t much use for long carries but fine for quick trips to the shops etc.
Encourage them to climb on to your back themselves. Make a game of finding something for them to stand on, like a step or wall. This idea worked better than anything else for us, and still entertains us! It appeals to their sense of independence.
Ham up the getting-on process with a loud ‘Whoop’ and over-exaggerate any bouncing or swinging up you do.
Sometimes they will kick up a stink being put on, but will be fine once you get moving and relax and enjoy the ride. If this is the case, just ignore the protests and forcibly put them on your back. I used to do this if I had no option but a back carry – i.e. for long walks. She was fine after a few seconds and the rest of the walk would go without a problem.
Carry another child. It’s amazing how jealousy can change a child’s attitude.
Bribery. Handing back an occasional biscuit worked like a dream for us. I still take a stash of junk food to guarantee a happy passenger on a long hike.
Negotiate ‘up’ and ‘down’ time if your child is old enough to understand.
These strategies are just what worked for us…. Please share any other ideas that helped you!