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.

Shia Sat 12-Jul-14 07:42:26

You should have him on reins.

Both of mine were on reins and you can make it fun. My son quickly learnt to come back if called but my daughter was more headstrong and needed reins for a longer period of time. We progressed from traditional reins to a tellytubbie bum bag that had a strap.

I don't like the wrist ones, my children had very slender wrists and in the event of a fall I would not like the jerking on their wrists.

A couple of times I have had to run into a road and snatch up a toddler who's mum is running towards them from way down the road. One time a car had to do an emergency stop and I managed to get the child onto the pavement but was shaken up myself as I could have easily been hit by the car. The car driver and occupants were naturally also shook up and yelled at me although it was a strangers child.

The mum arrived after the car had departed and was out of breath and red faced. She told me that the boy was always running off like that. I advised reins and she stiffened and told me that her son was not a dog and was most indignant, despite my saving her child from going under the wheels of a car.

Reins are practical and can save lives.

Asleeponasunbeam Sat 12-Jul-14 07:47:15

Back pack reins, a push along trike with a safety belt, pushchair if I need too. DS is just 2 and not in any way unusual but active, interested and oblivious to danger of course. Plenty of freedom in the woods, playgrounds etc. But not near roads or in shops.

Asleeponasunbeam Sat 12-Jul-14 07:48:25

My DS calls his rein his 'lead' sometimes. I am not at all bothered by this. My dog is the same in fact. Despite being obedient, he is not allowed off lead in traffic. Only in suitable places.

drspouse Sat 12-Jul-14 12:22:55

Great - reins at
zoo/in street/shopping centre.
But what about inside e.g. in the hotel - DH took him to breakfast, and he ran off while DH was going up to get food, and there's an automatic door into the street. There are far too many of those in shops too!
And both the park we go to where we are at the moment, and the one at home, let onto car park/street. He's run into or near the car park a couple of times.

TheGrinchWearsStripes Sat 12-Jul-14 14:06:58

Booster seat for breakfast, one that he's strapped into?

Still thinking about the rest!...

fledermaus Sat 12-Jul-14 14:11:31

Why not reins or a wrist strap inside?

fledermaus Sat 12-Jul-14 14:13:33

At the park, follow him closely and the second he starts to bolt strap him into the buggy and give him a 5 minute time out while you sit down and flick through a magazine/play with the baby. Then give him another chance to play nicely. If he bolts again, back in the buggy. I'd maybe give 2 chances and if it happens a 3rd time go home.

drspouse Sat 12-Jul-14 14:19:33

We're in the hotel still and he's in a high chair for breakfast. Most restaurants have useless high chairs and booster seats that don't have a functional strap and he can get out if he feels like it, I had my breakfast early so am MNing just supervising but e.g. with the baby or fetching a plate you can't always stop him.
I would really prefer for example to be able to walk 10 feet from room to dining room, from front door to car, without reins. Or if we're in a shop and I'm trying to pay (I sometimes hold him on the counter, sitting, but again less easy with baby in a sling).

But if he has to be in it from the second we think of opening a door, so be it. But there's still the park issue.

Catsmamma Sat 12-Jul-14 14:22:46

If the situation warrants it he must hold hands. End of. No negotiation.

Your ultimatum of hands or carry isn't working cos he is calling your bluff and knows you cannot carry him.

fledermaus Sat 12-Jul-14 14:22:57

It does sound like you're going to have to accept he needs to be in the buggy unless you are in an enclosed space or are able to supervise closely.

drspouse Sat 12-Jul-14 14:26:31

The problem at the park is that "starts to bolt" looks the same as "walking to next play structure" but "bolting" involves not stopping when he gets to the curb. So either he can't play at all, or he is allowed to go far enough to be actually dangerous. If he's more than 3 feet away, I can't catch him, because if I run, he runs.
I'm not explaining this well but it's not just a discipline issue, it's actually dangerous.

fledermaus Sat 12-Jul-14 14:27:18

Yes, you have to stay within 3 feet of him! If you can't do that, then back in the buggy.

drspouse Sat 12-Jul-14 14:32:41

I'm really not explaining this well, but it's just not possible sometimes to be that close to him.
He doesn't understand long enough term events that "we're not going to the park till you stop running off" would get through. So if we don't go, we only punish ourselves.

fledermaus Sat 12-Jul-14 14:36:34

OK, but the issue is - if you don't stay within grabbing distance then he could run off into a road and get hit by a car.

So your options are - go to enclosed places, stay within grabbing distance, or keep him on reins/in a buggy when the other two aren't possible.

I don't think there is a magic solution other than those options.

Yes, it's a shame that he can't run free and be safe. But given the choice you have to go with safe.

drspouse Sat 12-Jul-14 14:37:59

(And actually, thinking about it - three feet is too far. To always catch him, he has to always be within reach, which would mean no slide, climbing frame etc sad )

LOLeater Sat 12-Jul-14 14:39:55


No arguments, no negotiation. You have to keep him safe.

fledermaus Sat 12-Jul-14 14:40:02

I don't understand why no slide or climbing frame? He can't really bolt from the top of a climbing frame if you are standing at the bottom of it.

homeaway Sat 12-Jul-14 14:45:53

I think you have to be consistent as others have said. Either you hold my hand and walk nicely or you are in the buggy. It is hard but you always in your mind have to be one step ahead of him. You know that if he sees an open door he will bolt ,so grab him before you get near it. For the park he has to be in pushchair or on reins for the walk to the park and then let off to run around in the park. For breakfast at the hotel , if you are on your own then take him up to the buffet and let him chose what he wants, to eat, and that will keep him occupied . Get some back pack reins for him and that will help as well. Good luck and remember this is a phase and it to will pass .

Catsmamma Sat 12-Jul-14 14:46:52

there isn't anything to explain....unless you are prepared to hover constantly within reach of your child, or perfect a sprint start to rescue him every time he heads for the door the only way to keep him safe is buggy/hand hold/reins

So take charge...you ignore his "NO HAND" wailing and tell DH to up his game as well....was he expecting the 2 year old to wait patiently at the table whilst he perused the buffet selection??

tobysmum77 Sat 12-Jul-14 14:58:04

my dd was the same. All you can do is avoid the dangerous situations ime. Use pushchair/ reins when needed (both of which she kicked off over, big time).

Before too long he will start to become easier to reason with. I used 'baby reins' as a threat from about 3 and just kept them in my handbag.

tobysmum77 Sat 12-Jul-14 14:59:38

and I'm sorry it is impossible to hold hands with a child who is refusing to do so. Finally some hope dd2 isn't a bolter so it clearly isn't something that runs in the family/ caused by me!

Blueblackdye Sat 12-Jul-14 15:03:47

DrSpouse, we used backpack with reins, yes some people raise their brows, so be it. I'd rather have a screaming toddler than a wounded one. Hold hand firmly or back in buggy. He will grow out of it but atm, you have no choice, no compromise here, he is too young to understand danger.
Can you lock the door inside ?
Re booster seat, I have a fabric harness that can be put on any type of seat, it does not raise the child up to the table level but it does keep the child on the chair. Will try to find a link and post it on here or FB.

Blueblackdye Sat 12-Jul-14 15:06:29

Phil and Teds Wriggle wrapper. Check that. There are similar items less epxensive though.

drspouse Sat 12-Jul-14 15:10:40

We do lock the door inside (and we have now realised he can get out of the hotel room) but in the house we obviously need to go out sometimes and he needs to go with us. And we need to carry things (and the baby). And it is hard to hold his hand!

I had been going someone would have a helpful answer to the park issue other than "don't go again till he's old enough". Has nobody managed this?

drspouse Sat 12-Jul-14 15:11:21

*hoping not going

BucketsnSpades Sat 12-Jul-14 15:11:25

My DD is nearly 2 and does this too. Only yesterday i had to ask her to sit on the floor in a supermarket to keep her in one place for one second while i picked out some bits, then at the till i sat her on the counter and made her pack the bags. It was too high for her to jump off although she did just launch herself at me at one stage. I have no advice. You are not alone.

tobysmum77 Sat 12-Jul-14 15:16:50

sorry drs spouse I didn't find an answer other than eventually she grew out of it confused.

Maybe in a couple of months when you aren't pregnant and can run again you enforce a 'stay within this area or we go home immediately' rule?

fledermaus Sat 12-Jul-14 15:19:30

With the park you just have to be really consistent, and stay within reach of them. If they start running, back in the buggy/go home and do it every time. Maybe just do the park at the weekends so both parents can go?

Onetwothreeoops Sat 12-Jul-14 15:19:47

You could try getting him to carry something to the car for you. This might give him a focus and he won't even think about running off.

fledermaus Sat 12-Jul-14 15:20:01

Or go to an enclosed playpark with one gate and sit yourself by the gate. Ditto softplay.

drspouse Sat 12-Jul-14 15:22:18

I'm not pregnant, we already have DD but the more you run after him the more/further he runs. You are basically just chasing him into the road. This happens with DH there too (he's still off work). But it is harder to run with DD in a sling.

LEMmingaround Sat 12-Jul-14 15:23:13

Thus is a no brainer -reins!!! No ifs and buts. Yes it's inconvenient but its an accurate waiting to happen

LEMmingaround Sat 12-Jul-14 15:24:43


drspouse Sat 12-Jul-14 15:25:08

We have no such park option with an enclosed area either sad .

drspouse Sat 12-Jul-14 15:26:00

I have heard what everyone is saying about reins in most circumstances, by the way. But they are not an answer to everything.

Thumbwitch Sat 12-Jul-14 15:26:56

Reins indoors too. And in the park.
I have reins with clip-on "lead" - so DS2 (21mo) is in the harness part at all times but I can choose to undo the lead at one or both ends, depending.

I use the reins to keep him in highchairs that don't have a 5pt harness, or if no highchair is available, to strap him to a normal chair. I can wind the lead part around the chair spindles and then clip it back on. Invaluable!

As far as the park is concerned, the only time DS2 isn't somehow attached to me via the reins is when he's actually on the play equipment - I'll take the lead off for safety, but be ready to catch him whenever he gets off.

He will hold my hand as well as wear the reins, which is good - but he slips out of my grip all too easily (as his older brother did too) and that's when the reins are just so important.

He wears the reins/harness at least while he's in the pushchair as well, so if he wants to get out and walk, it's easy, I just grab the lead and off we go. Because it's a loop lead when both ends are attached, you can loop it over your arm while trying to do other stuff (like pay at tills etc.)

It also stops him from falling flat on his face when he trips.

I love reins!

settingsitting Sat 12-Jul-14 15:27:12

reins, wrist strap, buggy. Even holding hands is dodgy.

LEMmingaround Sat 12-Jul-14 15:27:30

So what is? Because you need to keep him safe.

tobysmum77 Sat 12-Jul-14 15:28:16

I think try the consistency approach. I found it hardest when we were somewhere she didn't want to be.... I mean its hardly a threat being dragged home from a supermarket is it? But the park is different?

settingsitting Sat 12-Jul-14 15:28:50

He will learn quicker too.

Tedious but the alternative you dont want to think about.

fledermaus Sat 12-Jul-14 15:30:34

Surely you (or at least your DH if you have the baby in a sling) can outrun a 2 year old though? If you are always within a couple of paces of him he's not going to have much of a headstart.

If he runs give him a massive bollocking and strap him straight into the buggy for a time out.

tobysmum77 Sat 12-Jul-14 15:30:40

its all coming back, I remember dd in the supermarket with reins on, I had to put them down for 2 seconds to get something with 2 hands from a high shelf. ............. grin you can write the ending!

Thumbwitch Sat 12-Jul-14 15:33:09

I always put my leg through the loop if I need both hands for something high up, tobysmum - I'm in jeans/trousers 95% of the time so it's relatively easy to do that.

Sunshine200 Sat 12-Jul-14 15:33:17

Does he have a punishment for running off? If my dd does it she has to sit on the floor straight away so she understands there is a consequence (other than bei g hit by a car). I also tell her that if she runs into the road that she would have to go and stay in hospital without mummy & daddy - this seems to make an impact.

Clearly you would t want to rely on these thing working so best to avoid the situation as others have suggested first.

tobysmum77 Sat 12-Jul-14 15:39:41

Oh bless you thumb. My 2 year old just toddles round and helps me get things off the shelves. It's the way you bring them up hmm

If it's any consolation my ex-bolter is a well behaved 5 year old. Another mum at school with a lo like it quite obviously dies not believe me when I tell her.

Thumbwitch Sat 12-Jul-14 15:50:36

Well to be fair, tobysmum if we're in a supermarket then he's usually in the trolley anyway, and yes, he does "help" me by picking stuff off the shelves. Such fun! grin

ThisBitchIsResting Sat 12-Jul-14 15:59:58

I'm actually struggling to understand. I have a 2yo. He is 2. I don't like reins. So I always hold his hand. The options are hand-hold or buggy. Yes it might mean he's still using the buggy when I'd prefer he walks nicely next to me - but it's not possible to fast forward development. So hand holding it is. Supermarkets - I sometimes let him walk about for a bit but it's fairly chaotic, so I try to use it as a learning experience and then back into buggy ASAP. Or straight into trolley if I have car. Parks - surely you're at the park for his benefit, why are you limiting him? Where exactly does he run to? I agree if he runs off you need an immediate consequence, but parks are the only place really I'd let DS run free and he can't harm himself, so it's just a teaching / learning process. Can you enforce handholding for pavements etc? There is no way my DS would walk nicely next to me if I didn't hold his hand (with him grumbling about it) but it's because he's 2, not because he's in any way difficult. And shops or long walks = always have buggy.

tobysmum77 Sat 12-Jul-14 16:05:23

the bitchisresting your child is clearly not a bolter.

VanessaShanesa Sat 12-Jul-14 16:05:46

Who's in charge here?!

God, people are often so drippy with small children! He won't do this, he won't do that. Sigh.

Reins or wrist strap. He can choose if it would make you feel better.
If he does the drop and flop and tantrum, you wait it out. You let him strop. Read a magazine or feign interest in camping equipment. Whatever, but do NOT give in.
When he's walking nicely to heel (lol) then perhaps he can walk on his own for a little while as long as he behaves. Try somewhere safe first. If he runs off, back on the reins/strap he goes - EVERY TIME.

It takes a bit of determination but it's not rocket science.

Thumbwitch Sat 12-Jul-14 16:06:59

Well I would say that you're struggling to understand because you don't have a bolter, ThisBitch. Or a child who has an advanced Houdini-like ability to get out of "handholding". Plus you haven't understood that the park the OP is talking about is not enclosed, so it is not a safe place for him to run free.

AppleAndMelon Sat 12-Jul-14 16:07:55

I'd use reins until it becomes less of an issue - he can probably tell you are getting a bit stressed about it, which probably makes him do it more. I don't care what people say about reins not being appropriate - I'd rather use them than have a squashed child

this type of thing is fun and less embarrassing than using plain reins

tobysmum77 Sat 12-Jul-14 16:08:11

Vanessa I am a lot of things but drippy with toddlers is not one of them believe me.

VanessaShanesa Sat 12-Jul-14 16:09:06

Just read through and I see you're of the "I can't do XYZ because it's too time consuming/inconvenient/awkward - I want a magic wand type answer" persuasion hmm

Thumbwitch Sat 12-Jul-14 16:11:04

There is nothing "embarrassing" about using reins hmm

tobysmum77 Sat 12-Jul-14 16:13:02

confused no just hmm that apparently bolting can be solved by not being drippy. It can't.

ThingyTheBusCleaner Sat 12-Jul-14 16:14:19

I have reins for DS and I would use them inside and out if Needs be. They Clip onto a high chair or Booster seat too.

ThingyTheBusCleaner Sat 12-Jul-14 16:19:16

I don't see how he's going to bolt off a slide (presuming you're Standing at the end of it) unless he can fly...

Thumbwitch Sat 12-Jul-14 16:20:40

Well to take DS2's example, courtesy of grandma not paying attention, he could fall off the steps instead of going down the slide (gee thanks for that, good job he wasn't seriously hurt!)

Thumbwitch Sat 12-Jul-14 16:21:33

Tobysmum I think Vanessa was aiming the "magic wand" comment at the OP...

TimeForAnotherNameChange Sat 12-Jul-14 16:22:20

We had a bolter too. It's hell on earth. And I'm really, really sorry but the only thing to do is reins/wrist strap ALL THE TIME, being within grabbing distance, and wait it out. It might take a year or more till he grows out of it a bit - ds2 was bad between about 18months and 3ys.

And when I say all the time, I mean it - inside the hotel, at the park, shopping, etc, basically every single time you set foot outside your front door. You're right, it's not just a discipline issue, it's a safety one, and it's your job to keep him safe whatever it takes, even if that means limiting activities for a few months. And yes, you do need to be glued to him.

I know it's hard, I do, I've been there. It was one of the suckiest moments of parenting ds1 that we've had so far (matched only by the truly epic tantrum throwing year from ds2 between 3.5 and4.5!)

Embolio Sat 12-Jul-14 17:27:15

Yup. Back pack with reins, holding hand and time out in buggy if he bolts. I carry ds1 to the far from the house as he unfailingly makes a bolt for freedom.

Embolio Sat 12-Jul-14 17:27:27


drspouse Sat 12-Jul-14 17:34:19

We do have a consequence for running off - sit on lap and count to five, stern face, telling off.
And yes, we can catch him. But running around is more fun than being sat down is not fun. And if you run away and GET CHASED then that is the MOST FUN THING EVER IN THE WORLD. So no amount of consequence or stem face is going to make that less attractive. So a consequence after running away is not going to help. We need to prevent it.
If he's on a slide and I'm at the bottom, it's easy to escape by going back up. Same with a climbing frame - two exits usually.
I think we can try reins when not actually on the equipment though.
Though I totally accept the need for safety, and I'm not at all bothered by keeping him restrained in the street, or using the buggy more (I was hoping to ease him out for when DD gets too heavy for the sling but hey ho), but he just loves running around, is short but heavy so needs the exercise, so I'm a bit sad about the need for restraint.


Stop resisting start using. Guessing mentioned but at least one posters child on mn died because of bolting.

IMO no excuse. Reins.

Bollox. I use reins on equipment at parks. Just loop long rein up. Useful as gives you extra handles.

Gen35 Sat 12-Jul-14 17:47:26

I agree with most people, I'd just alternate buggy, reins or wrist strap. I think he's too young for discipline to really work, at least with my dc1 before 3 it was mostly hopeless. You have two, they have to be safe. He'll grow out of it.

Thumbwitch Sat 12-Jul-14 17:52:22

If you're that fussed about him being able to "run free" then why don't you find a park that has a fully enclosed area to play in, even if it's a drive away?

settingsitting Sat 12-Jul-14 17:58:28

so I'm a bit sad about the need for restraint.

I am sorry, but it is that or the alternative..

LegoCaltrops Sat 12-Jul-14 18:01:33

Reins. At all times you feel there is a potential risk. DD is 2.2 and a bolter, we use reins at all times in public.

Some reins will attach to certain types of high chairs, btw. The Lindam reins have a detachable parent strap, the harness stays on the child so you can attach them to a cafe high chair if it has appropriate loops.

You need to tell him, as appropriate to his level of understanding, that unless & until he is able to act like a big boy, & not run off/misbehave, you will continue to treat him like a baby. Which means reins or the buggy. Possibly also bribery with little treats if he behaves nicely - a sticker or other treat.This is what we are doing with DD.

Cyclebump Sat 12-Jul-14 18:02:26

I loved my reins. Also, your buggy can be an effective tool. DS was a biter and hated being in the buggy. Every time he went to bite, he went in the buggy strapped in for two minutes. He screamed his head off and tantrummed, but it was effective. I was criticised by some people, but he was hurting other children and, while he hated it, being strapped in a buggy was not hurting him.

Maybe you could try it for bolting.

LegoCaltrops Sat 12-Jul-14 18:10:35

I would also add, DD hated her reins at first. We assume they felt weird. However, she now loves them, we think it's because they represent (to her) the prospect of freedom, relative to being stuck in the buggy. She loves to walk. She clearly finds being strapped imto the buggy an awful lot more restrictive than a set of reins that allow her to run about.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

How about softplay?

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.

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.

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

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

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?

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.

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!

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.

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.

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!'

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 !

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.

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