My 17 months old daughter refuses to walk outside, every time. I think it began 4-5 months ago when she broke a leg in the daycare and got a cast with which she couldn't move at all for three weeks. So we had to carry her. However, as soon as the cast was removed, she was able to walk again like nothing happened. Nevertheless, outside she always wants to be carried by me, her dad. Might also be that I carried her too often when we had to go from A to B, or so.

Nevertheless, I tried to let her walk for at least 20-30 m quite often but she always freaks out and cries. Until I carry her again.

Forgot to mention: With her mother around it's actually working quite well. She just walks then and follows her even if she is 10-15m away. Every here and then she recognizes me particularly and wants to be held but without crying and I am even able to refuse to pick her up.

Any advice? edit: I saw How to teach a 3yo to endure during hikes? which is quite alike.

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    How and where, exactly, did a 17 month old child break her leg at daycare? This may be part of the problem, so that's not an unimportant detail. Or it may just be that she enjoyed being carried and wants to continue. So it's a significant part of the question. Thanks. Sep 15, 2022 at 0:24
  • It happened as a caretalker (a rather young one but one with apprenticeship + study) let her sit alone on a changing table while fetching something... another caretalker just saw it when it happened and she said our child fell down with the head first so she was quite surprised she didn't break her hands or neck.
    – Ben
    Sep 16, 2022 at 3:06
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    Thanks for adding those details! Sep 16, 2022 at 17:27
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    "I am even able to refuse to pick her up" From what you say, she has no issues walking or even running, so there's no need to worry about motor skills. You also don't sound worried that you will have to carry her forever. So why would you not carry her when she wants to be carried? Aug 12, 2023 at 16:01
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    @Ben "[O]nly being carried around is not the purpose of going out. [S]he can't play or explore nature [...] when she is on my arms all the time." Well, she might disagree with you about the purpose of going outside. For her, that purpose might be being in your arms. Aug 14, 2023 at 21:03

1 Answer 1


Leaving aside the fact your toddler somehow managed to break her leg at daycare, I see you say she walks fine (I assume indoors) so I guess there's no residual pain. For encouraging her to go back to walking outside you have to make it fun, and no stress. We look for things on the ground (its autumn here now, so acorns and all sorts), at that sort of age every single item in the street was interesting. Every fire hydrant, drain, manhole cover, flower etc has a shape/colour/number/letter you can point out. Walking any distance will be painfully slow, I warn you! So don't expect any speed. Our 2 year old does quite a lot of walking now, but still likes to be picked up and carried and 20-30 mins is his maximum. When he was still learning he would get a bit of confidence, then bump on his bottom and be a bit put off for a few days.

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    If she broke her leg outside at daycare, forcing her to choose between walking outside or staying inside (I'm assuming you wouldn't take her outside just put her down and walk away if that was what happened?) seems a "coolhearted" approach. That detail matters, and it's missing. Sep 15, 2022 at 16:52
  • thanks a lot! 20-30mins is quite a lot, how much would this be in distance? So when you walk with your kid it is more that it is on the ground and less about walking?
    – Ben
    Sep 16, 2022 at 3:09
  • @anongoodnurse well, I did exactly this.. I walked "away" for 1-3 meters but I also see other parents+kids with same aged kids where they walk just aside or also with some meters distance without issues. So I didn't assume this would be coldhearted. I hoped she would just follow me. On the playground, in contrast, it's working. The same within our garden so it feels like it's always on public streets and the like.
    – Ben
    Sep 16, 2022 at 3:11
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    @Ben - I don't think it's coldhearted now that I know it happened inside and not while she was playing outside. I think it's a different issue, and seeing as she's only 14 months, she's not able to tell you, so she cries. Sep 16, 2022 at 4:33
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    @Ben yes at that age it was all about looking at literally everything, walking just happens to be a mechanism they can use to get between interesting things! Actually being able to walk somewhere with them in any sort of useful way, and in time, took a lot longer. We used a hiking backpack carrier a lot at that age if we actually had to be anywhere fast!
    – R Davies
    Sep 16, 2022 at 7:57

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