Many think that baby wearing is just that. For babies! And while it is easier to carry your baby with you at all times, I am finding it is so important to wear your toddlers as well.
Dr. Sears highlights the benefits of babywearing ::
In order for a baby's emotional, intellectual, and physiological systems to function optimally, the continued presence of the mother, as during babywearing, is a necessary regulatory influence.
You might have even heard the terms "Nine in Nine out" being that the womb period for a baby is 9 months in the womb and 9 out, making slinging and baby carrying important for babies development. But does it have to stop there? Absolutely not!
Let's face it, toddlers have it tough. From about 18 months they start really exploring and testing out those individual interests (which happen to be the toilet, toilet paper, markers, brothers' collection of cards, Mom's Tupperware, sister's shoes). They are realizing the world is SO COOL! And they want to be a part of it in a big way!
It's a time when they understand speech and what is going on around them, can mimic behavior and actions so well, but can't quite get those words out to express themselves! It's a time of great joy and great frustration for them (and for us!) as they waver between turning into that "big kid" and still wanting and needing to be a baby. It's a tough time! The balance of letting them explore and teaching them obedience and self control and still letting them be the little baby is a hard one!
For me to continue to wear them through these tough toddler times helps us find a middle ground. Particularly when we are having a hard day, when my arms need to be free but my toddler needs to be close to my heart. When I can't stop the activity and the momentum of the day, and the little one wants to be close. For me it's so comforting to have her near me instead of at my feet pulling down my pants begging to be held. I can cook or fold laundry or school and love on her all the same.
A week ago Gracie had a slight fever (temperature taken by Mom-kiss thermometer) and she was grumpy. After a little while in the sling she was ready to play again, I lift up on the rings and slide her down my leg. A little while later, she came dragging the sling into me and asked to be held again. I love it. How can you say No to that?
When we are out and about I have a sling in the car at all times. She doesn't always want to be held in my arms, and she's forever trying to climb out of shopping carts and such. But for some reason in a sling, she lasts much longer, she is more content to be closer to me, more secure.
So don't forget to sling those toddlers and children too. The benefits are huge! Other parents have said toddler wearing helps with potty training (for que reading), sibling rivalry when a new one arrives, tantrums, teaching (like in the kitchen where they want to see what's going on but safety is an issue~back carry!), and travel!