2 year old bolter...

(97 Posts)
drspouse Sat 12-Jul-14 04:11:23

DS is 2 1/2 and until recently he liked to run head/run off but would always stay in sight, but recently he has started running off round corners, running in the street etc. He also generally used to stop at the corner/curb when we said STOP but that's not as reliable now either.

We can't keep him continually in the buggy/high chair when out, he needs to be able to play in the park, walk down the street with us. We need to carry things in shops and cafés. But it's getting hard. We are staying in a hotel at the moment and have a baby DD too and today I went out of the room and DH was feeding DD and DS tried to follow me - but went in he wrong direction down the corridor (we didn't realise he could open the door). He hates having his hand held - he won't actually hold hands, he just lets you hold his wrist while shouting "No hand!"

We hate to chase him because he just thinks it's a game and laughs. We often say "hold hands or carry" but he would sometimes rather be carried, and sometimes we have too much stuff. He also does a lie down strike sometimes but that's easier to deal with. We try and stand still and look cross and say "Not laughing" but he then just tries vanishing round he corner. He has scared himself too by losing us but it doesn't seem to deter him. If we follow him round 1/2 a metre behind that also makes it into a game for him and he tries to get away. Plus we have bags/buggy/now DD too.

The other day we were at a cafe in a shopping centre and he ran down the corridor (tables at edge of an indoor corridor) and we could see him and there wasn't anywhere for him to go) and a shopper came up to him and said "where are your mummy and daddy", which he didn't answer and when we came after (we were just packing up) the shopper said "I thought he was on his own!" in a panicky, accusatory way. Which is kind of what we panic about too!

I'm not really talking about extended walks e.g. to the park at the zoo, where we just strap him in the buggy (or I've recently tried an Ergo) but from car to shop, or to house, or at the park if there is ANY exit, or inside a shop.

Is there any help for this, short of a) waiting for him to grow out of it or b) never letting him off a rein/out of the buggy, even at the park? DH is on leave at the moment as DD is v new but he'll be back at work soon and I'll be home with both of them.

drspouse Mon 14-Jul-14 20:28:58

We went to the zoo today. I just took DS and DH stayed home with DD. Someone asked me about the backpack and I said that honestly it has made such a difference. He carried his own nappies, wipes, snack and drink too!
I think I'm prepared to put up with a couple of tantrums, and he prefers it to hand holding it is clear too.

dingalong Mon 14-Jul-14 10:22:58

Last trip to a farm. Dd asked me a question and he hopped into a donkey enclosure chasing a kitten sad

I was 2 feet from him !

dingalong Mon 14-Jul-14 10:20:47

Ds is a bolter so feel your pain. Reins are a no-no as full blown tantrum in m&s last time I tried.

He gets carried or holds hands (but pregnant so have to try and sort something out soon.

He's like my (recently departed spaniel) fine but something might set him off smile

Sometimes I leave him at home for excursions (zoo at weekend) as I just can't face it.

drspouse Sun 13-Jul-14 23:19:26

DH left him in the chair at breakfast because he can't carry coffee and DS at the same time (or a hot plate of food, either). I'm not really sure what else he could have done.

MiaowTheCat Sun 13-Jul-14 22:24:15

I think you really only have the option of containment of the bolting urge in some form of another (reins, hand holding or buggy) and waiting it out... that's just the unfortunate truth of it.

I found traditional reins didn't work well for DD1, hand holding she's variable on (and DH is so tall it really isn't comfy for either of them) but she'll happily trot along with backpack reins on chattering away beside me - and she must like them as she was sooooo excited when her sister got her own backpack as well recently. Of course we also have a double buggy so always have the pushchair fall-back option as well.

Things I've found that work to a greater or lesser extent (it all depends on her mood - as do most things with toddlers)... signposting - so saying "race you to that lampost" or similar can keep her on a manageable trajectory somewhere like a park (I'd never do it near cars or similar), having a point blank "if you can see cars you need to hold hands or have your backpack on" rule makes it clear for her, telling her if we're in the park or similar that "you can go between this point and that point" type thing works as well in that she has some kind of clear guidance where she can wander between... she's still a bit of a bolter but she's calming down a lot now with a hell of a lot of hard work to do it. Oh and she'll walk along at a snails pace beside you if you big up the chance to go hunting for feathers! Puddles also work but the weather needs to be obliging on that front.

Andcake Sun 13-Jul-14 18:48:27

We only go to enclosed parks as ds 2 is a bolter. Just plan our visits around it - un enclosed areas out of buggy only when there are 2 of us one to stay v close. We use reins too. I think with a bolter you just have to stay close. Not sure why your dp left him un attended at breakfast? We just couldn't do it and I wouldn't really leave him in a high chair alone any where out of sight.

drspouse Sun 13-Jul-14 16:39:15

Ok, so got a backpack with a rein (the best option in the first shop we found) and tried it out in a shopping centre (Westfield type), immediate reduction in maternal stress levels and, I think, toddler stress levels too.

We'll be away for another couple of weeks (thankfully in a holiday flat not this hotel) but I'll look for some state of the art reins for when we get home.
The holiday flat does have a garden but with open exits onto the street and the car park (prime bolting territory), so we'll see if it's actually possible to play.

We don't have a garden at home, just a Northern back yard.

tobysmum77 Sun 13-Jul-14 11:51:10

drspouse he will get the association/ consequence thing soon its about 2.5 it usually kicks in. I think that will make it a bit easier.

Thumbwitch Sun 13-Jul-14 02:12:14

Drspouse - again, get reins that have a detachable "lead". I got mine from Boots but I'm sure there are others. Then you can take the lead off (the clips are really quick to use) when your DS is on the slide/climbing frame, and have them in your hand to reattach as soon as he's back on the ground. Sure, you'll have to chase him around the play equipment, but I think you might have to consider placing your slung DD in the pushchair (if it can be done) while your DS is on the play equipment to make it easier for you to chase him around and grab him quickly. If your DD is in the pushchair, then planned sprints would also be easier for you and fun for him - I would then undo one of the lead clips so he can get a bit more distance and feel "freer" from you, but you still have him under control if he veers off suddenly and tries to bolt.

Bummer about the parks sad

I presume you don't have much of a garden either?

And yes, there is a poster on here whose son was killed when he ran onto the road because he wasn't being restrained at the time (he was with his Dad). Awful awful tragedy. sad The poster (whose name I unfortunately can't remember) usually crops up on these threads to tell her story and beg people to use reins so that they don't have to suffer the same tragedy she did.

drspouse Sat 12-Jul-14 19:32:28

I like that sprinting idea. I shall leave DD on the picnic mat with my smug friends of non-bolters.
I am grateful really that he almost never hits and I can count the biting incidents on one hand. One friend has a "D"S who hit a child in her eye to take her ball. They have a second due in August bwa ha

Goblinchild Sat 12-Jul-14 19:24:19

I had a bolter, I thought he'd be 18 before the reins came off but in reality he was around 3 1/2.
I used reins, and was oblivious to the probable looks of disapproving others.
He liked them, he lived to be an adult and I got a lot of exercise as sometimes we'd sprint together on a signal of '3, 2, 1 GO!'

fledermaus Sat 12-Jul-14 19:01:34

You just have to keep plugging at it. Keep stating your expectation/the consequences (no running away, stay near mummy or you go in the buggy) and then as soon as he steps out of line serious bollocking, into the buggy for a good 5 minutes while you ignore him, then restate why he is in there, what the expectations are etc.

There's no quick fix, you will have to repeat yourself over and over and keep hold of him/time outing etc and it might take months and months. Basically just forget about relaxing afternoons in the park while you chat to your friends and he runs about.

drspouse Sat 12-Jul-14 18:53:33

I'm not sure about pre-threats, they don't seem to work for "hold buggy [which he does like] or you go in it", he just forgets. Worth a try but again, he'll forget what it was a consequence of as soon as we're out of the park.

drspouse Sat 12-Jul-14 18:49:54

Sorry to keep replying to individual posts - Awomb - I'm not sure that "in buggy, go home" is immediate and logical enough for him to get that it's anything to do with running off. Anything that takes more than 2 seconds to accomplish is too long for him. He just doesn't get the association beyond that. Even just packing up leaves too long a gap.

At least it means he's easily distractable!

AWombWithoutARoof Sat 12-Jul-14 18:49:27

Does he understand 'stay on the climbing frame or we go home right now' type instructions?

Wondering whether threatening reminders in advance would help.

AWombWithoutARoof Sat 12-Jul-14 18:47:37

Just seen the 10 mile thing.

I don't think he's too young to be really told off for this, he's old enough to know that something is naughty. What do you do for hitting/biting/drawing on walls etc?

drspouse Sat 12-Jul-14 18:45:10

Has anyone actually read the bit where I said there aren't any enclosed parks?

drspouse Sat 12-Jul-14 18:44:27

Soft play is nice for a planned wet weather outing with friends, and in fact a lifesaver on some winter days. But it's not an alternative. We can't walk to it (we can walk to two parks), we can't just decide "DS is doing our heads in and needs to let off steam and go to soft play NOW while one of us makes tea" and it's not free. And although my friends actually are more likely to suggest it than me, most of them would go to the park with us for half an hour randomly, soft play is not practical from that point of view either.

We would happily go to the park daily and that could easily be twice daily while I'm on leave with DD. I can't do that with soft play. It also takes as long to get to soft play as we usually spend at the park.

AWombWithoutARoof Sat 12-Jul-14 18:44:11

At his age I think perhaps a more serious bollocking than stern face is in order. How about as soon as you catch him you put him straight in the pushchair and take him home?

I'd go for reins every time he's not in the house and only go to parks that are enclosed then sit by the gate.

fledermaus Sat 12-Jul-14 18:35:36

How about softplay?

drspouse Sat 12-Jul-14 18:34:00

Where did I say I was resisting using reins? I'm sad that I have to, but we had some till we lost them and happily used them walking in the street etc.
But I am not using them attached to me on playground equipment, not risking strangulation. And it will mean he doesn't get to run around at the park. I can't run with him with DD. One of us can walk with him if we're all together, but not madly running like he wants to. Am I allowed to be sad that he can't do this? Or is that expecting a magic wand too?

There are no properly enclosed parks within 10 miles that I know of, and we wouldn't get to go with his friends (well, ok, my friends' children) if we just went to a random far park. Parks are about socialising too including for me.

But I do feel better that others have children who won't have their hands held. I just noticed red marks on his arm and neck from yesterday's enforced wrist grabbing (actual hand holding is reciprocal, this isn't it) and t-shirt grabbing during a bolt. I really don't want to injure him even if he can't stop me holding his wrist.

andsmile Sat 12-Jul-14 18:29:29

mine is same she has petted seceral dogs today and nearly went in duck pond as i cant luch forard fast enough to contain her. I wanted to allow her some freedom today in the car free park on her scooter - this brought other nightmares. She kept hiding in bushes too. She is a menace.

ContentedSidewinder Sat 12-Jul-14 18:22:52

Does he ever have the opportunity to just run though? Carefree and unrestricted?

I had to teach mine that there was a time and place for running and a time for being in the pram/hand holding/reins.

That way when we went to a certain place both of mine knew they could run wild, that was the one and only place. Playgrounds etc were not a place to run (saw child run in front of swings and get smashed in the face)

I am sure there is a MNetter whose son ran into a road and now advocates reins. I would never judge anyone who used reins. Toddlers do not understand danger so a parent must make that decision for them.

GinnelsandWhippets Sat 12-Jul-14 18:20:40

DS1 is a bolter. He has a choice - hold hands, reins or pushchair - which apply at all times when we're out of the house (so in shops etc). I've found that being absolutely consistent works well and he will now hold hands grudgingly but without tantrums most of the time. We relaxed a bit a few weeks ago as he was starting to get better at stopping when told. But he then bolted again so he's back on lockdown. And the consequence for bolting is he goes in the pushchair immediately and is strapped in until we get where we're going.

bronya Sat 12-Jul-14 18:19:45

Reins. Put them on him, and loop the strap through the back bit, so the whole contraption is on him all the time, but you don't have to be holding it and it's not dragging on the ground. Start a new routine - 1) stop there please. 2) STOP NOW or you will go on the reins. 3) Catch him, put reins on. Keep reins on for next ten min and ignore any tantrums. If you want, you can have 4) If you won't walk nicely on reins, you can go in the buggy.

When you let him off the reins, repeat - forever if necessary.

When he's got the hang of it, you can teaching him to walk next to you (and he can walk on his own) - if he walks ahead, one warning (as soon as he is in front of you), then you grab him and hold hands/on reins. Once he's walking nicely, repeat.

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