Although I generally promote holding baby and keeping baby close as much as possible, especially during the first year, there are times when you might need to put your baby into a stroller. I’ve only had the benefit of experience with one baby so I don’t really know how the general population of babies react to the idea of having to sit in the stroller. All I know is that my son, when he was a baby, made it abundantly clear that he didn’t like being the stroller.
Aside from the fact that Gavin always wanted to be carried when he was a baby, I think a large part of the reason why he didn’t like the stroller was because he was bored in it. Here are some tips for the sort of toys and activities I would use to keep him occupied and “happy” in the stroller when I couldn’t carry him:
1. Toys that are Attachable
At some stage, all babies enjoy the drop-and-wait-for-Mummy-or-Daddy-to-react game. The last thing you want is for your baby to constantly drop their toy on the floor and forcing you to stop every couple of meters to pick it back up again. Having stroller accessories that attach to the stroller or baby in some way will help to prevent baby from losing it deliberately.
Some toys, like many of the Lamaze toys, come attached with hooks that allow you to hook them to the hood of the stroller so they hang, within reach, just in front of your baby. Alternatively, you can use one of those pacifier holders to clip the toy to a part of the stroller or to your baby’s clothes.
2. Toys with Lights and Sounds
Any toy or activity that comes with in-built lights and sounds are going to be much more engaging and entertaining to your baby. If you want to offer your baby something that will hold his attention for longer, make sure the toy or activity has either or both of these. It will definitely keep baby happy in the stroller for longer.
3. Things to do
Stroller toys or activities that require your baby to do something to them are also much more engaging than those that do nothing – unless the toy happens to be your baby’s lovey. Babies will easily get bored of a toy if there is nothing interactive about it. Think about it – how long can you stare at an object before you get bored of looking at it?
Ideally, stroller accessories that have some sort of activity component will provide longer lasting entertainment to a baby. For instance, toys with lots of buttons to press, cloth books or board books with pages to turn.
4. Keep a Variety of Toys on Hand
Depending on how long you think you need to keep your baby occupied for, it is a good idea to keep a stash of accessories hidden in the baby bag. That way, as soon as baby gets bored with the current toy, you can swap it with a new one. The general rule of thumb is that the longer you intend to keep your baby in the stroller, the more toys you need to hide in the baby bag.
The following are some recommended stroller toys and accessories that will help to keep your baby suitably engaged while sitting in the stroller:
- Stroller steering wheel that attaches onto the pram. These are toys that are usually attachable to the stroller, emit lights and sounds, and offer a variety of activities for baby – for instance, buttons to press and a steering wheel to spin.
- Learning activity toys like the range from Lamaze. Again, these toys are usually attachable to the stroller and they offer a range of textures, sounds, and possibly lights for baby to explore.
- For very young babies, sometimes a musical mobile hanging from the hood of the stroller might be sufficient to entertain them until they fall asleep.
- Toy keys and mobile phones are also pretty attractive to the older babies that are learning the significance of these items in the real world.