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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 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?

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