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Letting your kids ride on your shoulders can be a lot of fun for them, and a lot of work for you.
Sometimes, kids just are done walking. Pulling a stroller with you everywhere is a lot of work though, as half the time your kids don’t want to sit in it anyways. They want to be up and moving around all the time. It’s no fun to be stuck in a stroller when everyone else gets to walk. Pushing the stroller without a kid in it is also frustrating, and often just not worth it.
If you want to avoid taking a stroller with you everywhere, then being able to put your kids on your shoulders is the compromise that you may have to make. You are taking your shoulders with you wherever you go (I hope at least), so you’re not pulling something extra along that you don’t need.
Of course, giving kids rides on your shoulders is also a lot of work. It’s usually harder than pushing a stroller, and if your shoulders aren’t used to having a lot of weight on them, then they may tire quickly. Building up your shoulder strength is the best way to make shoulder rides easier for longer periods of time. Giving kids shoulder rides on a regular basis will help to build up shoulder strength, but you may want to do some additional exercises as well.
There are two main areas of strength that you’ll need to get kids on your shoulder. First off, loading your kids up onto your shoulders will require the strength to lift them up there. When they’re still a baby, that’s pretty easy. As they grow into the toddler age, that’s going to be more difficult. Being able to lift 30+ pounds from the ground to above your head may be required. Of course, you can get help with this, but being able to do it on your own is most ideal.
The second area of strength that you’ll need is to be able to hold the kids on your shoulders for a long period of time. Usually, your shoulders will get tired the fastest, but you’ll also need to make sure you have enough strength in your core to hold your body steady as well. Exercises where you’re statically holding weights that target your muscles are best for this (back squats, for example).
Kids may be a little scared to ride your shoulders at first, but once they’ve found that you’re holding them firmly and strongly, it’s very likely they won’t want to get down from there. My youngest son (now almost three) asks fairly often to get on my shoulders, especially when we’re walking up a hill. I’d much rather give him a ride on my shoulders than push him up in a stroller - it’s one of the cases where a shoulder ride is easier than a stroller.
At some point, your kids will become too big to ride on your shoulders, but they’ll likely also be old enough to be out of the stroller at that point as well. Put your kids on your shoulders when you can, and leave your stroller at home. You may find that your kids start walking even more than you thought they would otherwise. Or you may just find yourself getting a better workout than expected.