How to Get Your Toddler to Tolerate Stroller Time {tips and alternatives}

Does your toddler hate being in the stroller? Tips and alternatives for stroller time!

So, your toddler won’t stay in the stroller? Before Livvy could walk, she loved going out in the stroller. So many new things to check out! Now that she’s actually able to walk on her own, what fun is being strapped into a stroller being forced to sit still? Even before my daughter was walking, she’d rather crawl around than sit in a stroller. Like most other things in life, I’ve learned that getting toddlers to do what you want requires some outside the box thinking, bribes, and finesse! You can still get your toddler to tolerate stroller time, without the tantrums.


Make it into a fun game.

Point and name everything you come across. If your toddler is a little older or more advanced, ask them to name things or find as many (insert color) items as they can.

Bring favorite snacks and drinks.

If your toddler hates being in the stroller, break out those coveted favorite snacks that you are saving for moments like these! Cheese puffs are like toddler crack in this house, but Livvy eats them pretty frequently, so they’re not really considered a “special” treat. She does like (and rarely is allowed to have) soda. If I REALLY need want her to stay in her stroller, I admit I will allow her to indulge a little. I also save things like yogurt melts and chocolates. Even if you don’t allow your kiddo to consume anything unhealthy (and trust me, this is a rare indulgence around here), I’m sure you know of something that will make your little one work for it.

Take your little one to new places.

Distraction is such a good tactic when toddlers aren’t happy. Going somewhere new usually has the ability to distract them enough to forget they’re mad about being in the stroller.

Promise a reward later.

We like to use a “First.. And Then..” strategy in our house. For example. “I know you want to go outside in the freezing cold in just your diaper, but FIRST you have to get dressed and get a jacket, THEN you can play outside.” If it turns into a screaming match, I just chant, “First jacket, then play” until we’re done. After some time, she knows when I say that, I mean it and usually only grumbles a bit (USUALLY). You could promise if they behave in the stroller that you’ll play their favorite game or read their favorite book or make their favorite food or…. you get the idea.

Use another method of transport.

If all else fails (which, at times, it has for me), try something other than the stroller. If I’m going to an event that doesn’t involve much walking, I will still baby wear my daughter. Like in the picture above, we also routinely use a push car.

What helps your toddler stay calm in the stroller?




  1. These are good tips! My 2 year old has started hating his stroller recently. One thing that helps is having a little bag of his favorite toys that he can hold while he is in the stroller. I also normally let him have his sippy cup of juice as a distraction.

  2. Bribes just about always work for us as well! I’m pretty sure my kids are part wild animal, so anything that involves sitting still usually ends in a fight. Snacks are a great tip – even wild animals have to eat 😉

  3. Good tips. I am a mean mommy and just let him fuss, lol.

  4. I was lucky that my kids loved stroller time but you offered great tips for those moms with children who don’t. My favorite resolution for all behavior issues is snacks! Thanks for sharing!

  5. This is such a great post for me!! I entering into the age where my son is going to fight it!!

  6. Great suggestions! With four kids, a stroller is often necessary when going places. Our youngest usually throws a fit at first, and then calms down once we start moving. Strollers are used for such a short season of life that I think it’s totally okay to do whatever works.

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