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Toddler not walking 'to heel'

(17 Posts)
Chwaraeteg Sat 13-Dec-14 19:37:08

My 14 month old has been walking for about 8 weeks now and is a pretty confident walker. However, she absolutely refuses to walk in the direction we want her to walk in. I've done a little googling on the topic and the little info I've found shoes that this is completely normal at this age.

So, I've been trying to encourage her to follow me e.g by holding out my hand and saying "come to Mammy", or saying, for example, "let's go on the living room. Do you want to walk to the living room, or do you want Mammy to carry you". I've just been trying to positively encourage her and if she doesn't understand yet then fine, no problem, she will get it eventually.

Tonight, me and do have argued over this approach. I overheard him in the kitchen trying to get her to walk into the living room, then getting quite annoyed and telling her off when she wouldn't!

I tried to explain my thoughts about this to him. That I don't think it's right to be admonishing her for something she may not be developmentally ready to do / understand. He disagrees and got quite defensive about the whole thing. He's says that these days put too much emphasis on whether or not a child understands something and because she has, one time, came with him when asked, she is clearly capable of doing so and is just being awkward!

I tend to think she will follow when she is developmentally ready to and there's not a lot you can do to speed this process up. He definitely shouldn't be stressing her about it!

Aibu?

Chwaraeteg Sat 13-Dec-14 19:39:04

Oh, I forgot to say, my toddler has a thing about having her hand held. Since the day she was born she will go absolutely mad if you take her hand. This, of course, makes leading her anywhere difficult (I plan to use reins whilst out and about).

Fairylea Sat 13-Dec-14 19:42:02

Of course you're not being unreasonable. They're called toddlers for a reason - they toddle about. It's a bit daft to expect them to follow the direction you want to go in. All you can do is encourage them and pick them up if they don't.

Reins are a must when out and about in my opinion. Neither of my dc were happy holding hands and reins enabled them to have some freedom and still be safe.

Bulbasaur Sat 13-Dec-14 19:47:22

All babies develop differently but 8 month old DD crawls towards us when we call her over. The exception being when she's busy getting into things, then we don't exist apparently.

We make it fun for her though. We don't scold her for not coming. Unless she's in rooms she shouldn't be we forgot to close the door to. Then we just use stern voice in telling her to come here.

I wouldn't stress about it. She probably just wants to do her own thing. You wouldn't come over at your DP's beckon call either, would you? smile

meglet Sat 13-Dec-14 19:47:46

Totally normal, almost until school age.

Get reins and keep the pushchair for another year at least.

FWIW my 6yo still sometimes runs amok when we're out, although my 8yo happily walks along sensibly(ish) now.

BertieBotts Sat 13-Dec-14 19:48:31

It's totally normal. "Too much emphasis on whether or not they understand something" is ridiculous. If you suddenly started speaking to him in Japanese would he be able to do what you wanted? Probably not because he wouldn't understand! It's the entire point and if she's only done it once, it was probably a fluke.

When out and about you use some kind of restraint like reins, hand holding, carrying or a buggy where it matters which direction they walk in. As they get older they get more able to walk sensibly so you go through a transition period where you keep the buggy/reins/hand for if they don't comply or you need an extra measure of safety and eventually they are so used to walking that you can ditch the buggy/reins etc altogether.

BertieBotts Sat 13-Dec-14 19:49:38

Yep. Ha! Was going to say my 6yo sometimes inexplicably decides to walk the wrong way too. But that is them being difficult I think. Not at one year of age, though.

OttiliaVonBCup Sat 13-Dec-14 19:51:08

They never walk to heel.
They are either running miles ahead of you or loiter back.
Takes ages to train them and then they become teenagers and the whole training goes out of the window.

You need a short lead.

sliceofsoup Sat 13-Dec-14 19:51:52

Fucking hell. Shes 14months. Thats still a baby in my book.

My just turned 2 year old still refuses to have her hand held and is only now grasping instructions. When we are out she is always in her bugy unless we are at the park or soft play.

It sounds like she is your first. Am I right? I found myself very eager with my first to get to the next stage all the time. Now with my second I know that they will get there in their own time.

Your DP needs to step back and think that only a few months ago she was completely immobile. Shes still so so young.

Singleandproud Sat 13-Dec-14 19:54:09

Personally I don't think young children can manipulate and do things to you on purpose untill they are maybe 3 years.

We had a set of Tommee Tippee reins which were quite nice and had some padding around the chest. Down side was that it didn't fit well around thicker winter coats. We moved on to a Little Life back pack which was brilliant it comes with a parent 'lead' that can pack away, it's quite long so child can walk in front and feel more Independant than on reins, kiddies can carry a small toy, water bottle etc and the child can't hang from them like a puppet like the can with reins.

MiaowTheCat Sat 13-Dec-14 20:13:25

14 months is pushing it for any form of steerability in a toddler. They're very much free roaming missiles of destruction and chaos for a fair few months yet.

DD2 is only just getting to the point she'll walk along with you holding your hand in vaguely the intended direction of travel and she's 2 in a few months... DD1 was a similar age and it's only now she's getting towards age 3 that I'll take her out when I have her sister in the pushchair without reins on occasionally (anywhere near traffic and she wears them - but now I can almost trust her to hold onto a loop handle I've got on the pushchair for her the bulk of the time)

Chwaraeteg Sat 13-Dec-14 20:48:00

Ah, it's gonna take a while then!

' Sliceofsoup' - yes she is our first and neither of us had much experience of babies or toddlers before she was born so every stage is a bit of a surprise for us. For some reason I had imagined that one day babies just get up, start walking and are tr otting alongside you nicely within a week or so. Lol.

I think this has basically just brought up a big difference in parenting philosophy between me and dp. I tend to be quite laissez-fair about dds development. I don't really think there is much you can teach a baby before until they are at that particular stage in their development. I tend to think "she'll get it when she gets it". My boyfriend on the other hand, is a bit more impatient- proactive and I sometimes worry he'll just end up frustrating her and himself trying to get her to do something she is completely unready for (he didn't understand why I thought his mother was being so unreasonable when she suggested putting her on the potty at 9 months, for example - "well she's quite smart, it can't hurt to try"!)

BertieBotts Sat 13-Dec-14 21:16:56

Oh, well, if he wants to do the potty thing, get him to read up on "elimination communication", you're really just training yourself to recognise their cues, though. grin But he hasn't made that up, it's a thing.

Do you have any friends with children of a similar age? Do you go to any groups etc where you could meet up with the families together at a weekend? It might help him to see other toddlers are just the same smile

Think about it this way: If he's trying to work on obedience all the time, she's more likely to fight it for the sake of having a fight (absolutely not yet, she won't be doing anything like that consciously yet, she won't even realise that is a thing that people do, she's just reacting totally emotionally-raw-ly and instinctively to everything just now because it's all new and she's learning how the world works.) Instead harness that curiosity, she absolutely adores you two, you will be her absolute world. Your job is to show and guide her into how to react to every situation. If you go for blind obedience to the authority, that might very well be Mum and Dad for now, but when she's older, it will be the girl who has the right shoes, the boy in the year above who everyone fancies, or the bully that she doesn't want to get on the wrong side of. Obedience training works for small kids and dogs and nobody else. Difference with dogs is that they stay dogs - she'll grow up and have to work out where to walk (or whatever other discipline issue you come up against) by herself.

It's just a matter of changing focus slightly. He can be proactive, nothing wrong with that, but it might look different. For example when walking, at the moment you need her to know that following you is non negotiable, but for long term skills, she can start learning now that water is wet and deep and roads are loud and dangerous. When DS was this age we were very lucky to live on a quiet dead-end street, and I spent a lot of time walking up and down with him, letting him explore when it was safe but keeping enforcing the boundary of not walking on the road by saying "Stay ON the path" and then interrupting him or stopping him or physically picking him up when he got too close to it. When we crossed the road I got him to wait, and hold hands or be carried across. I also taught him not to touch parked cars in the same way, and now it's so instinctive to him that he doesn't question it. As he got more consistent at walking safely, I let him walk on bigger roads, but took the pushchair just in case, and for road crossings.

Ultimately, though, you will get the best results when you communicate to her in a way that she understands, and something that is very important for that is to try to understand her point of view. For her, this is very exciting. Suddenly she can walk and reach so many more places than she could previously. She's curious about everything and she wants to explore. She has no idea of the significance of a road vs a path or what the words road or path mean. She doesn't understand that other people's cars, houses, things belong to them and yours belong to you because she has no concept of ownership. Everyone she has ever met is nice, so she thinks people are great. Etc etc. Her grasp of language is probably still very basic, so use as few words as possible, and avoid negatives like don't/no (something)/stop (somethinging), because that adds a layer of complexity. One noun and one verb. "Stay on the pavement" "Leave that (it's dirty)" "Come to mummy" etc. Some basic explanations using the words "is for" work well too. "Hands are for loving" "Food is for eating" "Roads are for cars, pavements are for people"

There's a lot you can do, if he's eager to teach her, she can learn so much more if he is patient and takes the time to enter her world and reach into it, rather than repeating something alien to her and expecting her to understand.

Sorry that turned into a bit of an essay blush

CakeAndWineAreAFoodGroup Sat 13-Dec-14 21:20:33

Bertie Good post. Lots of good advice.

Where were you when I had baby probs 18 years ago? LOL

PiperIsTerrysChoclateOrange Sat 13-Dec-14 21:37:28

I found with my 2 it's better if I say go to the next gate and wait for mummy.

Did this on quiet areas or through places that had no cars.

Chwaraeteg Sat 13-Dec-14 22:12:02

Thanks Bertie, so.e really interesting things to think about there regarding communication / teaching what things are for.

Luckily boyfriend isn't too much about the obedience / authority thing ( although he has remarked in the past that if you can teach dogs things without them having any understanding of 'why', why can't you do the same with toddlers?), it's more that he's just impatient and excitable about dd being able to do / understand stuff. He doesn't go to any toddler groups with me because he's at work during the day but I will suggest that he gets together with some of his mum / dad friends while I'm at work on the weekend / he's on baby watch.

stormtreader Tue 16-Dec-14 17:31:43

Dogs yes but only after a LOT of work, puppies no. DD is a human puppy :D

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