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Help needed in getting 3.5yo to not run off!

(23 Posts)
christmasmum Mon 15-Aug-11 13:15:10

While my DD is generally a very good girl (for a 3 year old anyway) she is extremely independent. She hates holding my hand and walking with me in general. Today I was getting the two of them out of the car, I put the 18mo in the trolley at the supermarket then got her out of the car, reached back in to grab her jacket and turned round to find she had vanished. Cue calling her name, wildly looking round the car park etc to find she had run inside the shop and was waiting for me inside the door.

Now clearly, this is not acceptable behaviour - we had a chat about it when we'd both calmed down from the telling off and she has promised not to run off again, but how do you 'train' them (for want of a better word) to stay close to you? She seems oblivious to the dangers of running off, despite being told until I'm blue in the face.

Any ideas? Does anyone else have a child that runs off? Help!!

BoysRusxxx Mon 15-Aug-11 13:24:24

I will be watching with interest. Ds1 is a nightmare for running off. He has improved loads though in recent months. I got those wrist straps and he is allowed start off without strap if he walks aong side me. If he runs off, he goes on the strap for two minutes then he gets a second chance.

It seems to be helping but he still does it the odd time.

Ilythia Mon 15-Aug-11 13:54:06

I would second straps, they HATE them but it is a good lesson to learn that there are places it is not acceptable to run off.
We have a thing called 'car park rules' which means they are not to go away from my side, and preferably hold my hand/coat or bag. If they do run off then they lose a treat or got put back on reins when they were younger.

CurwySwide Mon 15-Aug-11 14:01:07

I can so sympathise - my DS (2.11) has been like this pretty much since he started walking! It got to the point where I really didn't feel like taking him anywhere as I knew that I would spend the majority of my time running after him - and I am far too old to be haring around carparks/playgrounds etc. And other children always seem so well behaved!

He has calmed down a lot in the last couple of months - I started 'warning' him every time before we went somewhere that if he ran off then we couldn't go to the park/playground etc. again, and then reminding him about what the consequences would be if he looked like running off at any point.

It has not been an easy lesson to learn but I can tentatively say that in our case it seems to have worked pretty well - he is much better now but I do need to keep reminding him, and also praise him when he stays with me, telling him what a big boy he is for being so good.

Not sure how helpful this is, but wanted to reassure you that you are not alone in having a child who runs off - and that I am sure it will get better in time.

christmasmum Mon 15-Aug-11 14:18:59

Sounds like the strap of shame it is. Might pop out and buy one, I have proper toddler reins but never used them as she used to just sit down if I put then on and then I'd end up carrying her like a puppet dangling off the reins.

It always seems like you're the only parent in the world who is unable to control their child when walking!

bumpybecky Mon 15-Aug-11 14:24:28

we used a little life backpack with a lead (for want of a better word!) for ds, works brilliantly and you don't get the dangly child that I previously had with reins (dd1 thought it funny just to stop and dangle from them!)

you don't have to use the lead, it clips on and off, they come in various colours and styles, ours is a turtle smile

upahill Mon 15-Aug-11 14:26:37

I used the reigns when mine were little.
I saw a thread last year on MN and was suprised at the amount of hatred and nastiness that some people said about posters who admitted using reigns.

Personaly I loved them. My boys were able to have some freedom to explore and be a little bid independant but they were save from harm, especially near roads or in crowds.

I kept remembering Jamie Bulgar. His mum was just buying something and he was gone. That always stuck in my mind, hence the reigns until I could trust them more.

upahill Mon 15-Aug-11 14:27:35

xposted with bumpbecky.

If they were around (or I was aware of them) I would have gone for them!

ceebeegeebies Mon 15-Aug-11 14:29:58

I totally sympathise - DS1 was always like that from the minute he could walk and I hated taking him anywhere as it was just so much trouble sad

If we were going anywhere that could be dangerous, I used to put him in a buggy because it really was the only way to keep him safe (if I used reins, he just used to dangle as a previous poster has described grin) - he did start to look a bit ridiculous in a buggy as he got older but I wasn't prepared to take the chance. The good news is that he is now 5.1 and has totally grown out of it - we walk 10 minutes to school and back down a busy road and I am happy for him to generally walk without holding my hand (although I am still on edge!) - ironically, he always wants to hold my hand these days!!

Ds2 (2.9) has been a godsend on this and has never tried to run off - not keen on holding hands but does just trot along side you wherever you are going and will not just disappear at the drop of a hat....now I know how easy my friends had it whilst I was tearing round after DS1 wink

Thumbwitch Mon 15-Aug-11 14:34:41

Reins are safer than the wrist straps, as the wrist straps can cause dislocations.
DS was on reins up until he was about 3, when I could reliably get him to hold my hand. If he refused, he went back on the reins. The last time he was in reins was in Sydney Airport when he was mucking about too much - he was 3.5 then. He hasn't needed them since but I still carry them just in case.

When we get out of the car or go back to the car, he has to stand with his hand on the car while I get the keys out. Once he ran around the back of the car and I went ballistic at him - he hasn't done it again.

miranda66 Mon 15-Aug-11 15:48:02

Like bumpybecky we got a backpack - ours was a ladybird, absolute godsend! Dd liked to pack a treat for herself in the pack!

christmasmum Mon 15-Aug-11 16:14:58

Just bought a wrist strap and apparently the threat of it is enough to get her to hold my hand round town! Hurray, break through, god bless mumsnet smile

Kenny10 Mon 15-Aug-11 16:31:04

Hi Christmasmum i put a very similar post on here a few weeks ago in relation to my ds1 who is the same age and is always running off. I got a lot of replies many suggesting reins or wrist strap. I feel that he is a little bit old for those at this stage so have just ended up putting him back in the buggy a bit - i got a second hand phil and teds when i had my ds2 who is 10 months so i can use that- dont know if you have a double buggy you could use or if your dd would go in it. my ds1 actually quite likes the buggy but i can imagine that he would react very badly to reins etc. anyway you have my sympathies. a runner is very tough especially with another small one. i think he is beginning to slowly improve after serious conversations with both me and dp after every occurance. he is like your dd extremely independant. good luck. sorry my comma key is broken. smile

Thumbwitch Mon 15-Aug-11 16:39:56

Yay! Glad that's worked for you CM! smile

christmasmum Mon 15-Aug-11 16:47:48

Hi Kenny10, I think it was the threat of being treated like a baby that worked with the wrist strap. I do have a double buggy but it's a nipper so it's a bit wide for popping in and out of the shops and going to supermarkets etc - exactly the places that we seem to have the problem. Grr. Hopefully threats of straps (not in a 70's way I hasten to add...) will be enough.

God, i recognise my current situation. I am at my wits end. DD is 3 next month and we spend our weekends running after her if we are out and about. She just won't listen - even after threats and consequences are carried out. She does hold my hand in a car park, only because I think I've put the fear of god into her about cars (confess probably a bit too much) but if, for eg, we're at the zoo or park, she will start running a bit and then never stops and we end up dashing after her.
We have the ladybird rucksack reins but she screams and screams if we put them on and eventually collapses on the floor and I'm not into dragging toddlers along concrete grin
I am 26w pg, due in November. At 3.2 she will be too old for a double buggy IMO, so am dreading it. Atm, if she is too naughty we put her in the pushchair if she won't stay with us.

Like the OP, apart from this, she is a delightful little person. We are a very outdoorsy type of family, so having to consider where we go based on DD's running is a pain. She simply has no fear.

Out of my mum&baby group, she was the last to crawl and walk but whilst the rest of them have gone on to reasonably understand/obey 'stop', she has not and I feel a bit crap that the rest of em are all being delightful on outings, DD is the screaming banshee in the pushchair confused

Anyone got any tips on dealing with a runner and a newborn without a double buggy??

bumpybecky Mon 15-Aug-11 17:11:16

I'd keep the runner in the buggy and get a sling for the baby MrsRidcully. If you wear ear defenders you won't be able to hear her smile

Otherwise how do you think she'd cope with a buggy board?

Thumbwitch Mon 15-Aug-11 17:13:03

I don't think 3.2 is too old for a double buggy, tbh, especially if you have a runner.

phlossie Mon 15-Aug-11 17:14:06

My DS is now 5 1/2 (today - it's his half birthday as he keeps telling everyone), and I still spend a fair amount of time shouting stop at his retreating figure. He was a nightmare at that age, but it was one thing I was very strict about, and now if he does go into his own little world and run ahead too far, at least he stops the instant I tell him too.

I used to give him one chance, 2nd time I put him in the pushchair/shopping trolley/put on reins, and third time was to leave (if we were somewhere he liked!) I remember once leaving the zoo with him wailing, and he was much better after that - you have to carry out your threats. I had a newborn when he was at his worst - I have chased after him while breastfeeding before!

Also, save your fiercest voice for when you really need it!

I don't think they mean to - as you say, if they're independent and have a tendency to go into their own little dream worlds, they just don't check to see if you're with them or not - and that's a personality thing. But you can control it!

Thanks for the comments. I've got a Moby wrap and Close carrier for the baby but our pram is an iCandy, so we either have a pushchair attachment (from 6months) or a fully flat pram (best for baby), but not v flexible for swapping the 2!
I suppose 3.2 isn't too old for a pushchair but am not sure I fancy spending £'00s on a double buggy that may only last a few months.

Hmm - maybe a cheap one for outings then?

I also think DP and I have got to start getting tougher with pre-warnings and one chance only etc and just be firmer with reins.

phlossie Mon 15-Aug-11 17:29:24

You could use the reins in place of the pushchair - ie, this is your first warning, next time you run away you will have to wear your reins...

daimbardiva Tue 16-Aug-11 11:59:18

I have an icandy too - I've just bought a Revelo Kidsit buggy board to use with it when my baby arrives, so that my toddler can use it. However, he is a runner too, so whether or not he settles on ti remains to be seen!

I used a Littlelife backpack for the first time at the weekend (a dinosaur one smile ) and it was great. Initially he was annoyed with it, but within minutes cottoned on to having to just wander along beside me instead of haring off in random directions at the speed of light. He only fell over once through trying to go too far away. And I only caught myself saying "Good boy" like I do to the dog, once! smile

Kenny10 Tue 16-Aug-11 11:59:40

Haha Phlossie i have very vivid memory of running from playground with very new baby breastfeeding to chase after ds1 who was going towards a cordoned off area with a digger at work. I wasn't very happy to putit mildly having left all my stuff behind. that was definitely my worst experience. It is VERY frustrating, good to hear other people going through same thing as i dont have any others in my circle like that.

it is getting better and the buggy did help- i certainly felt more relaxed at least and he was fine about it too.

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