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Running off - how can I get ds1 to STAY WITH MUMMY!

(19 Posts)
mumbojumbo Wed 10-Aug-05 15:46:47

OK, here goes....

ds1 (3.7 years) is very independant, very strong willed and loves to "wander off".

I was out today at a local play park and he disappeared in one of the play areas. It took me 15 minutes to find him, by which time I was verging on the hysterical. He wandered back to say hello to my friend, totally oblivous to the time he'd been away.

If I ask him to stay with me, he understands. If I tell him not to run off, he understands.

If you saw a hysterical, loony woman hugging a little lad so hard that he was telling me to get off - that was me!

I am at a loss.....feel totally cr*p, very upset....and would appreciate thoughts on what I can do (apart from physically tying him to me). I feel like a totally useless mum today.

PS This is not the first time I have posted on this topic....last year sometime....just felt I needed to vent.....

starlover Wed 10-Aug-05 15:48:47

hmm i would probably threaten him that if he keeps doing it he won't be allowed to places like the park any more.

having got totally sick one day of my young charge disappearing i told her taht if i can't see her someone might take her, and that her mummy would be very sad if she never saw her again! probably the completely wrong thing to do but she never ran off again

foxinsocks Wed 10-Aug-05 16:33:02

this is very difficult - ds (3.9 yrs) is a compulsive wanderer. He's very good at walking with me (holding hands by the road etc.) but anywhere half exciting like a playground or play area and he bolts. I lost him at Snakes and Ladders for half an hour once (and I was without dh). I wasn't in tears (I was in a blind, silent panic) but when one of the staff (who were all looking for him) asked me if I wanted them to call the police, I nearly fainted.

I have had long sit down talks with him and it works for a while then he does it again. Last week he wandered off while I was helping his sister at the amusement arcade. I found him by the door (some kind woman was keeping an eye on him) - he was only gone for 5 minute but anything could have happened.

I think at this age they don't mean it - they get excited and carried away and don't think of the consequences. Both times I could see ds was very sorry. I really can't think of anything that can be done other than keeping a very strict eye on them in exciting places - I've actually thought about rewarding ds when he doesn't run off in places like these to see what happens.

jampots Wed 10-Aug-05 16:37:16

I think you can buy a device which sends off an alarm if your child wanders more than say 200ft away. Cant remember what its called or find it on the net but someone else may be able to find it

mummyhill Wed 10-Aug-05 16:40:08

I resorted to reins with dd she doesn't wear them all the time but if she doesn't stay by my side I ask if she wants them on. If she ignores me or continues to wander off I put the reins on and let her have a tantrum, about ten minutes after she calms down i ask her if she is going to be good and stay with mommy, wait for her reply and if she says yes i take them off with the warning that if she wanders again they will go straight back on. It seems to be working I have gone from uing the reins everday to once in a blue moon.

jampots Wed 10-Aug-05 16:40:36

found it - Angel Alert

foxinsocks Wed 10-Aug-05 16:43:02

I think the problem is that you want them to have a certain amount of independence - so e.g. you want them to run off in the playground but what you don't want them to do is run 2 miles off in the other direction.

I assume you have other children so can't watch him all the time? Another thing I do is ask other mothers (who I know!) to keep an eye on him if I have to help dd. Other than that, I think you get to develop eagle eyes (and a certain number of wrinkles and grey hairs).

jollymum Wed 10-Aug-05 16:47:08

Extendible dog lead? have threatened my 6 year old today with baby reins or one of those. Really can't be ar..ed to be shouting round the supermarket at his age, he should know better!!

robinia Wed 10-Aug-05 17:40:45

Ds3 is exactly the same - except talking to him about why he mustn't do it has no effect at all. Twice while waiting to pick up ds2 at school he has disappeared in the 5 seconds it takes to take ds2 from the teacher. (The little ones tend to play on a small patch of grass just to the right of the door where the children come out). He has then been found approx. 10-15 minutes later, several hundred yards down the road in the patch of woodland behind where I park the car. (Having walked out of the school gate where many other mums are congregating and not noticed him). Very, very frightening.

I've taken mummyhill's approach although i use a wriststrap rather than reins. Have to say it is on more often than off at the moment. Really want to get him trustworthy by October when no.5 is due but can't see it happening at the moment. I'm working hard on him over the holidays when the older siblings help to keep him under control.

mumbojumbo Wed 10-Aug-05 18:21:04

thanks for all your replies.

Yes, I do have another little one. ds2 is 21 months old and would love to run off too given half a chance. You do tend to feel like you need eyes in the back of your head all the time. Both ds's have a toddler rucksack with a "grab handle" on it. It also has a parental rein which I have resorted to using and will use all the time now. Either that or stay indoors.

Foxinsocks, you've hit the nail on the head. I do want him to have a degree of freedom, just be in the immediate vicinity and not wander off regardless. As for the grey hair - I think I've aged 10 years today.

I guess I have to try and improve things or ground him until he's 18!

mumbojumbo Wed 10-Aug-05 18:21:27

thanks for all your replies.

Yes, I do have another little one. ds2 is 21 months old and would love to run off too given half a chance. You do tend to feel like you need eyes in the back of your head all the time. Both ds's have a toddler rucksack with a "grab handle" on it. It also has a parental rein which I have resorted to using and will use all the time now. Either that or stay indoors.

Foxinsocks, you've hit the nail on the head. I do want him to have a degree of freedom, just be in the immediate vicinity and not wander off regardless. As for the grey hair - I think I've aged 10 years today.

I guess I have to try and improve things or ground him until he's 18!

mumbojumbo Wed 10-Aug-05 18:21:49

Oops sorry double post!

alison222 Wed 10-Aug-05 18:42:37

have to agree with mummyhill. I have threatened reins as I had them for DD and have on occasion used them on DS (now 4.5) It is very effective as they hate to ahve them on "like a baby who runs away" and I can't remember the last time I did it, although I do sometimes still threaten to use them.

Calidou Fri 12-Aug-05 12:01:12

My 4 year old used to run off until I purchased some wrist reigns. I told him that if he stayed by my side then I would not put them on him, but if he took more than 5 paces away from me, I would tell him to come closer or I would put them on. At first I was putting them on alot - and he HATED it, to the point he would fall to the floor and the only way to get somewhere was to pick him up kicking and screaming. But he soon said, put me down!, put me down! So I said that if he stayed close to me, then I would take them off. After a while all I had to do was show him the reigns and he would come back! Try it, you never know it might work for yours too!

serenity Fri 12-Aug-05 12:17:21

Would you feel more secure if you attached something with 'contact details' to your DS? I bought some keyrings from the stationers and wrote 'If Found please call <<my mobile>>', so at least if they really get lost I know someone would be able to get hold of me. I suppose the real problem though is whether they realise that they are lost.....

I've tried to drum it into the DSs that if they can't see me, then they've gone too far away but they are 5 and 7 and it still doesn't seem to have sunk in 100% of the time!

mumbojumbo Fri 12-Aug-05 12:46:54

Would you believe me if I said that I have got a kiddietag for ds1.....and he'd wandered off before I had a chance to attach it.

I've had a long think about this over the last 24 hours or so.

My plan:
1. Tell ds1 that "if he wants to go anyway - ASK first" (The answer may still be no but at least I'll know where he wants to go).
2. Use rucksack with reins when out.
3. Use kiddietag when out.
4. Get a child alarm thing.
5. Use sticker chart - reinforce the good behaviour when he does actually stay with me.

We'll see how this goes.

mummyhill Sat 13-Aug-05 10:18:28

Good luck sounds like you have covered all bases.

Littlestarsweeper Sat 13-Aug-05 10:35:38

I wont take no prisoners, my Ds has been a an independant sod since popping out! I threaten with the pushchair. I guage his mood and decide whether the pushchair is coming with me. Painful i know but hey at least he is safe.

mumtosomeone Sat 13-Aug-05 11:22:58

reins!!!

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