How Far Is Too Far for a Toddler to Walk?

Updated on June 22, 2010
J.F. asks from Philadelphia, PA
21 answers

My now 25mo is more interested in pushing his stroller than riding in it. This morning I decided to let him push it to school and he walked the ENTIRE way (a little over a half mile). I'm debating about just letting him walk but I'm not sure if that is too far for a daily thing - your thoughts are appreciated?
- J. :)

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the input! Eight consecutive days of walking followed by two days with the stroller and today half walk/half wanted to be carried. I think the excitement of walking has worn off. Coupled with the increase in heat and my happy camper is not so happy. Only five more days of school and than we re-start in September when he will be a bit older and hopefully more communicative. I think we'll switch up the routine for the next few days and see if that resparks his interest. It was nice to leave the stroller home for a bit. :)

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answers from Chicago on

If he can do it, let him. My son has refused to go in the stroller since he was about a year old - insists on walking himself. He now often goes more than a mile at a time. If he gets too tired, we stop and rest, have a drink, then continue when he's ready. My take on it was, he'd have a good healthy exercise habit, and it was all his choice - a good way to build a healthy relationship with his body as he grows up.

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answers from Houston on

My son is 2 1/2 and wants to push his stroller rather than ride in it. Most places we go I don't even bother bringing the stroller anymore because it's much easier to let him just walk then to have to deal with him pushing the stroller. I only bring the stroller if I know we are walking exceptionally far and he's likely to get tired. No matter how far it is I let him walk until he's tired. He tells me when he's done walking, I don't worry about it.

Good luck,

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answers from Los Angeles on

Your son is totally fine but I get your concern. You sound like a great Mom! If he’s tired he’ll likely get in his stroller. My kids rarely if ever used the stroller. They loved walking & exploring, but who wouldn’t? Encourage it. He is feeling the natural energy of our earth on the bottom of his feet even with shoes on. The more he explores the world around him, the more he will know =-)

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answers from San Francisco on

If he is not completely exhausted after the walk (like napping all day long) and don't suffer any leg pains the next day, let him walk. It's good exercise, good habit, good bonding...
My son walks every week (sometimes twice a week) to the library, and even helps" me pushing his sister's stroller. It's over a mile and a half (so 3 miles both ways). He often finish the return in the stroller or in my arm but walks most of it. He also walks to the parks (one is also about 3/4 mile away) and then has still energy to play.
He is not a very "active" boy in general (not the type who runs around the house, climbs on furniture or jumps all the time), so this exercise is very good for him.

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answers from Indianapolis on

I agree, if it doesn't seem to bother him with leg cramps, or hip pain, let him go..........when my son was young, he broke his leg and I was so scared he would walk on it before he should in his cast..........the doctor told me kids are smarter than adults, when it hurts, they stop........

Good luck and you'll have fun keeping an eye on the little guy when he is older!!



answers from Sacramento on

I'd let him walk. At 25 months, I'd think he's small enough that you can pick him up if he totally poops out.

Good luck.




answers from Philadelphia on

Also, my 22m old and 3y 10m old thought it was fun(ny) to trickle COLD water on the tops of their heads (when I thought they may be getting too hot)!! They just tilted their heads forward so it wouldn't go down their back. It worked!!


answers from Norfolk on

My 18 month old does the same thing now-- i bring his stroller out when we go on a nature trail by our house (3 miles) and he pushes it most of the way. The stroller is there as an insurance policy (in case he gets too tired and needs to ride the way home). I'm 7 months prego and he's 30 pounds--i can't carry him if he gets pooped out hah



answers from Honolulu on

When he is tired/sore then stop or rest and put him in the stroller. Or if it is really hot (or not)... you don't want him to get over-heated and carry water. And if he is wearing a hat, that can retain heat... not letting it flow out.

My daughter at that age, could walk 2 times around our block... its a big block and full of hills, so going uphill and down. But my daughter is a strong walker... always has been. She doesn't get tired out or winded etc. She could keep going even if I was tired! My son on the other hand, will poop out quickly and then wants to just ride in a stroller. He has short stamina boosts. Whereas my daughter is good at sprints and long distance.

Go by your son... or if it is a hot day... then gauge him.

all the best,



answers from Philadelphia on

I read somewhere that it's reasonable to expect up to a mile per year. And take cues from the little man, which you already are. So, keep doing what you're doing. :)



answers from Seattle on

It depends on the toddler. My 2 year old easily RAN 3 miles a day (there's a lake near us that has a path around it that's 3 miles, and he would run it while I walked), my friends' 2 year old could sometimes walk for a few blocks and other times just be whining exhausted and falling apart. Totally depends on the kid. We never had a stroller, they had a stroller until he was 6.

With other friends who have a more active toddler : We both have spent quite a bit of time in Europe where one walks EVERYWHERE. And in that situation, my kiddo would get tired occasionally. So I just popped him up on my shoulders and carried him that way. They couldn't because she was too heavy for them. So they always brought along a stroller in case she got tired.



answers from Harrisburg on

Every child is different. Do some test runs and bring a light umbrella stroller along in case he gets tired. One day he may run all the way there. The next day he may walk a block and sit right down. Nothing wrong with him walking a lot. It's good exercise and it'll hopefully make him sleep even better for naps or bed.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets
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answers from Pittsburgh on

J., my 25 month old does the same thing, and effectively has been since last November (18 mos), as we walk home from the park (also just over 1/2 a mile). I think it's fine to let them walk, just ensure the shoes are okay so no blisters!



answers from Philadelphia on

I think it's great your son would rather walk than ride in the stroller. This is a good habit to encourage and will allow you to get rid of the stroller sooner. If it was too far he would let you know so I wouldn't worry about it. My son is 4 1/2 and we encouraged walking over riding once he was a good walker and haven't really used a stroller at all since he was 2 1/2 -3. I sold our stroller a year ago since we were no longer using it. Kids need to get exercise, even toddlers, and this is a great way to get it in.



answers from Scranton on

Let him walk! It's terrific for his health. Just make sure he's wearing shoes that have arch support - run your hand down the footbed of the shoe and you should feel a little hump, which is what supports his arch. Enjoy!



answers from Philadelphia on

If he is tired and does not want to walk he will let you know. Take the stroller with you just in case. Exercise is good and may be he will take a better nap or sleep better at night.


answers from Rochester on

Keep a stroller or something handy, but let him walk whenever he wants to. I went hiking with my 21 month old a few weeks ago and he did push himself too far (I ended up carrying him while he protested) but the next day he was worn out and just clung too me. I think he walked almost a mile or more and it was hilly. I usually bring a stroller to throw stuff in, even just a pop-up one. Make sure you have water since he is going to be getting thirstier if he is doing the walking himself.


answers from Pittsburgh on

Maybe because every day is a mission to get him to nap or sleep, but I let my 2yo walk as much as he wants, taking the stroller so its there when needed. Sometimes its just around the block. Other times its a ton (yeaterday was crossing the Ft Duq bridge, then around a festival for an hour, then running around the field for a park - then he crawled in).

Its been great practice for him and so far he's been good about (not darting away).

Good luck!



answers from Johnstown on

We have been walking the former railroad was converted into a 'rails to trails', with the trail being 2 miles between gate to gate--4 miles for a round trip. We have taken a 2 yr old and his 1 yr old brother with us and the 2 yr old REFUSED to ride the stroller until we FORCED him in it at almost the 3 miles marker. His brother did over 1 mile. My thought is that it's up to the child to decide. If it's not bothering them, don't let it bother you. Good luck!


answers from Kansas City on

If it isn't causing him any growing pains when he sleeps at night, go for it. What a wonderful gift to give a child. I wish I had been more active when I was young.



answers from Seattle on

Ever since my daughter started walking securely (about 18 months) she refused to sit in the stoller. I sold it at that point and let her walk as much as she likes. We have a back-up stroller and I can count on one hand how often she has used it since.
I usually take along my carrier and put her on my back when she gets too tired. Now that she can ride the tricycle we take that along quite often too (it has a bar for me to push).
I'd say be happy that he likes it and ditch the stroller!

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