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Toddler running away in shops - is this normal?

(29 Posts)
londondee Tue 20-Dec-11 23:47:18

My DS is almost 2.5 yrs old. Ever since she started walking she has been difficult to take out in shops - particularly large stores, e.g. department stores, M&S etc. where there is a lot of space to run around and explore.

Sometimes in smaller stores this is not a problem, as I ask her to help me find things and put them in the basket, but big stores (where we are usually out for longer and she gets bored of holding my hand) are a problem.

I considered getting her one of those backpacks with reins, but when I looked at discussions here on MN, it seems that mums whose children have attention-deficit type issues are using them. So I am wondering if this is just a normal (very long) phase, or whether I should be considering something else else as the cause?

londondee Tue 20-Dec-11 23:48:05

Sorry, I meant DD (not DS!)

Matronalia Tue 20-Dec-11 23:57:13

This is just a phase. Shops are bright and exciting, toddlers have a short attention span.

I keep reins in my bag and on the school run/long shopping trips push the empty pushchair. DS (2.3) knows that if he runs off then he is in the pushchair/on the reins. I just got fed up of the panic when he disappeared behind a rail of clothes or hid behind a bush in the playground where I couldn't reach him (had to send DD in after him). The physical presence of the pushchair or the reins dangling from my hand constantly remind him to stay with me.

I think DD (6) grew out of it around 3.

londondee Wed 21-Dec-11 00:05:20

Hi Matronalia, nice to know that it is just a phase. I don't want to wait until she is about 7 though... grin I have tried the buggy threat when she starts running off, but she either screams or I just can't get her in it. These outings are on days when DH is at work, so I need to find ways to get her to comply. I think I will have to buy reins after all...

Bunbaker Wed 21-Dec-11 00:21:14

Yes, it is completely normal. When DD was that age I kept her in a pushcahir or in the shopping trolley (in supermarkets) because she was a bolter.

startail Wed 21-Dec-11 00:21:57

Reins. DD1 went everywhere on them from 18 months until a bit after she was about 3.5.
Her sister was born when she was 3 and reins and the buggy, didn't work and wrist-straps tangled. Fortunately around this time she got markedly better about vanishing into thin air.
She's now 13 and seems to be returning to her old ways. I could have done with reins on our last shopping trip. She still wanders around in her own world and forgets to keep one eye on the rest of her group.
I don't think I ever put reins on DD2. She didn't vanish the second you let go of her hand to buy something etc.
Just as well since DD1 could be trusted with roads from 2.5 and DD2 was still liable to forget aged 6.

ThompsonTwins Wed 21-Dec-11 00:25:25

Completely normal. DD1 (now 23) when 2.5 once ran away and stripped off in Sainsbo's blush

CointreauHoHoHoVersial Wed 21-Dec-11 00:29:02

Make it easy for yourself, and just get some reins.

colditz Wed 21-Dec-11 00:38:36

Yes it's normal. get reins.

And mums whose children have ADHD type syndromes do use them, yes, but we still use them when ourkids are seven.

PogoBob Wed 21-Dec-11 00:47:37

we use one of the backpacks on 16mo DD who is proving to be a bolter and it's saves a load of stress. Doesn't help with her latest trick of lying on the floor in (thankfully silent) protest if we don't go the direction of her choosing!!

mumsgonemad123 Wed 21-Dec-11 00:52:51

OP are you me? lol! I posted an almost identical question to this a few weeks back. I have twin boys who are 2 years 5 months and are currently a complete nightmare in shops, to the point where we just can't go shopping with them. On my own its an absolute no no, i just cant do it and TBH even with hubby with me, its still a struggle.They go wild and just want to run up and down ailses, usually lauging and giggling. The bigger the shop, the worse it is.

If we pick them up they kick and wriggle to be free again, if we buggy them they just cry and grumble about it, not to mention our side by side double buggy is a beast and cant even fit round most shops! They wont hold hands, they hate reins, if i am firm and grab their wrists they throw themselves on the floor and paddy.

Believe me there is always someone worse off than yrself and thats me!! I just tell myself that its a phase and think 'this too will pass' and luckly i have a very lovely MIL just up the road who will happily have them at the drop of a hat if i want an hour in town by myself. Thank God!! xxxx

Celestia Wed 21-Dec-11 08:16:03

I do sympathise as my dd was a bolter. Actually, she still was up until about 4. Now it's the battle from stopping her touching everything. Sigh.

plipplops Wed 21-Dec-11 08:21:19

I could never get on with reins or the backpacks, but just used to strap both mine (16 months apart) in the buggy. DD1 is 4.5 now and fine, DD2 is just 3 and still can't really take my eyes off her. One thing that can help is if they have something that's noisy. Took DD1 to B&Q once with her really cheap shopping trolley so I could hear her clattering round the next aisle and at least knew she was still in the store! Or some of those squeaky shoes - must be v annoying but at least you can take your eyes off them for 2 seconds...

Meglet Wed 21-Dec-11 08:56:58

Perfectly normal IME. DS had back-pack reins until he was 4.5 and 3yo DD still wears them.

I also kept the double buggy until recently as it was impossible to control both of them at the same time.

HecateGoddessOfTwelfthNight Wed 21-Dec-11 09:09:37

Yeah, it's normal. Kids run around. You just have to keep hold of her to stop her. I used reins for both of mine. They were (and are) runners (autism!). I'd highly recommend reins. It only takes a second for them to yank their hand from yours and they're off. Not as bad if they are the only one, but if you've 2 toddlers like I had, then you're in a bloody mess! (leave one toddler to chase the other? Pick up heavy toddler and try to run with them?)

vixsatis Wed 21-Dec-11 09:13:31

Just get reins

peppajay Wed 21-Dec-11 13:31:30

My DS is a nightmare for this, my parents took him to town the other day and he ran off several times but I always use a buggy as he quite happy in there but when I don't he just runs off. Catch 22 really coz the more I don't use the buggy the harder work he is but if I don't use the buggy he will eventually get better I hope. At the moment I am going for the easy option and using the buggy. My parents think he has developmental/behaviour problems as he runs off all the time and refuse to take him out again but what I remember and they seem to have forgotten is my younger brother was in a buggy till he was almost 5 because of this!!!

CaptainMartinCrieff Wed 21-Dec-11 13:38:31

Reins appear to be quite controversial but I bought some... My 20 month old wants to walk everywhere but I can't get him to hold my hand. He's little and other people don't notice him so the reins are handy to get him out of the way/steer him when people haven't seen him.

Yes, normal. Get a Little Life backpack, they're great. However, DD now refuses to wear it at nearly 4 but still has a habit of doing a runner in shops. Every time she does it I put her back in the pushchair the next time out which she hates, just to remind her what a privilege it is to be allowed to walk wink. Pushchair usage is getting fairly rare now for us.

ThatllDoPig Wed 21-Dec-11 13:40:44

Normal. hard work. I have a zero tolerance method where as soon as he runs off, or does anything naughty, he's straight in the buggy or trolley, where he cries and everyone stares at me, but most times, this really works and he stays by me. Be consistant and blank out everyone else. Just don't attempt it on a day when you feel fragile!

londondee Wed 21-Dec-11 20:26:56

Thanks for all the replies everyone!

WaftyCrank Wed 21-Dec-11 20:44:52

Yes I agree, normal. The Little Life backpacks are great. My DS is 4 and was a bolter from 14 months when he learnt to walk. He was a nightmare especially as I had DD when he was 20 months so really not up to legging it after him.
He does have ASD though and still runs everywhere but it's definitely normal as DD runs off when she feels like it.

ReindeerBollocks Wed 21-Dec-11 21:23:09

I also have a little life backpack (with wings!) and it helps our bolter. Our DD thinks its highly amusing to hide when she sees you coming.

I thought the backpacks were used by a fair few parents, not just those with SEN? It's worth a go. And they do grow out of it, it's just a bugger in the meantime smile

Toni27 Sat 31-Dec-11 09:16:32

hi my daughter is 4 next month and she has always run off in shops! nothing unusual I think, she just finds it funny to hide from me and also wants to look at things. She runs off everywhere and one day she bolted from me when I was walking her and her little bro to preschool and she ran into the path of a moving car - of course I screamed infront of all the other mums and one kind lady came up to me and gave me a wrist strap, I have used it religiously since and its great cos my daughter wont wear reins or a backpack but I can get her to wear the "Special Mummy Bracelet" and I have explained it keeps her safe in busy places. Sometimes I do have to fight to get her to wear it but its peace of mind for me that she wont bolt and she also keeps some of her independence as she can walk ahead by a couple of feet hope that helps you x

BertieBotts Sat 31-Dec-11 09:21:06

I am always terrified when people say this is normal, DS was never like this, always too worried about losing me to let me out of his sight. If I have any more children and end up with an escape artist I'll be in for a shock grin

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