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Desperately seeking advice on 4yo dangerously running off...

(40 Posts)
LilithMyth Thu 18-Oct-12 19:11:19

Hi, I am at my wit's end and would dearly like some advice.
My just-4 DS keeps running off and into the road. W shave spent 2 years training him on crossing the road, looking right and left, using his listening ears etc.
We had about six weeks where I thought we'd sorted it, but now he's gone back to not listening when se say stop, and twice this week he has run off, narrowly missing the road/oncoming cars. This afternoon he slipped hi hand out of my new au pairs hand and pickup, and she was very upset and stressed.
When we tlk to him he is very sorry, although he sometimes wants to change the subject / not engage.
We have had a series of consequences (removal of favourite toys) star charts, less stories at bedtime (which I don't particularly like, but does make him realise we're serious), but I'd really appreciate any advice.

Scootergrrrl Thu 18-Oct-12 19:13:14

What about a wrist strap? One chance to behave then he's on the lead grin It's terrifying when they dash into the road and one of those things which has to be handled very firmly IMO.

scurryfunge Thu 18-Oct-12 19:13:28

I think you have to make the consequences immediate as he may not be making the connection a while later.

RationalBrain Thu 18-Oct-12 19:14:32

At four years old what does he say if you say he might get squished and die? Have you tried being that blunt about it?

Marmiteisyummy Thu 18-Oct-12 19:41:39

Reins, immediately when he doesn't do as he's told. When he behaves like a big boy he gets to be treated like one, type of thing.
Maybe ask nursery if they could do something about road safety (if he goes)?
Agree with pp about immediate consequence so he understands it's very very serious.

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 18-Oct-12 19:50:01

Put reins on him straightaway and keep him on them until he behaves.

GrimAndHumourless Thu 18-Oct-12 19:57:16

yes reins or wrist strap

best to be safe

RabbitsMakeGOLDEggs Thu 18-Oct-12 20:05:03

Wrist strap or a buggy.

Lougle Thu 18-Oct-12 20:19:16

Tell us about him in general? Is he just 4 or nearly 5? Has he started school yet, or still in pre-school?

Would you say that his behaviour in general is good? Does he seem to appreciate dangers appropriately for his age in other ways? What is his concentration like?

LilithMyth Thu 18-Oct-12 22:48:18

Thanks all, really appreciate all advice, and seriously considering wriststrap.
Lougle - he's just 4 (as in this sunday, been making cake all night, hence late response). He's in his second year at nursery, starts school next year.
Generally, his behaviour is OK, but I do feel like the last 8 weeks have been a challenge (this has been going on for long before that) - lots of change (au pair left suddenly, no goodbye, people visiting, holidays etc), and he has taken to crying for no reason also.
I feel like maybe this is a control thing, he likes to be in charge. I try and give him control about lots of things - choosing clothes, what we play etc. He's slightly gung-ho, although much better than he used to be, so doesnt totally get danger (hence being killed doesnt really mean so much to him), although have felt that the summer was a turning point, and we've started talking about "safe" behaviour, and he does, largely, get that.
He's concentration is OKish but not great.
Probably going to get wrist strap tomorrow, but welcome any other ideas/thoughts, and thank you so much for taking the time to share your opinion.

amillionyears Thu 18-Oct-12 22:58:31

One of my sons was still a problem about this when he was 6 years old.
We were in a car park,the car was slowly moving through the near empty car park,and my son casually walked in front of it.
No harm was done as the car was moving slowly.
Basically my son did very little thinking in his life. He is fine now but then he was not.
My point really is,that your son may well not stop doing this anytime soon.
Agree with all the other comments.
Also think you need to act immediately with reins or wrist strap or whatever.

Athendof Thu 18-Oct-12 23:04:24

Frankly, I don't think this is a talking matter, it's about getting those reins or wrist strap before he gets run over. You will have enough time to reason with him about less dangerous things in times to come.

izzywizzyisbizzy Thu 18-Oct-12 23:07:33

I had a problem with DS in and out of school, I solved it (sorry if it sounds like training a dog), with tubs of celebrations, as they are small and immediate.

If he runs off he doesn't get a chocolate when we get where we are going, if he doesn't run off - he does.

Its immediate and it works for us, it helps that DD is about and he hates it if she gets a chocolate and he doesn't.

GrimAndHumourless Thu 18-Oct-12 23:09:23

oh, and some folk might look askance at the wrist strap but they are ALWAYS folk who have not had a Bolter so just ignore 'em

GimmeIrnBru Fri 19-Oct-12 19:00:42

Reins! Seriously. If he cannot understand about holding hands, then he could be put on reins until he does. You just cannot take a chance with road safety.

GimmeIrnBru Fri 19-Oct-12 19:02:37

I had a bolter too, DS1 did this coming out of nursery when he was 3yo. I had to use reins on him and he was kicking and screaming in front of all the staff, other parents, and children. But I didn't care, I just had to get on with it because he wouldn't hold my hand. It beats him ending up squished on the road....He did eventually get the hang of it, but it takes time.

valiumredhead Sat 20-Oct-12 13:55:11


Seriously, there is a mums netter who lost their child as they ran out into the road, I always think of her on threads like this. There can be no negotiation when it comes to roads safety.

3littlefrogs Sat 20-Oct-12 14:00:15

Agree. Reins or wrist strap.

Children do not and cannot develop meaningful, reliable road sense below the age of 7. They cannot begin to judge distances or traffic speed under the age of 7 - 10.

Anyone who tells you otherwise is just very lucky, and fortunate that their child has not bolted YET.

SavoyCabbage Sat 20-Oct-12 14:08:36

I know a four year old who was killed stepping out on to the road on the way home from school.

After it happened, I realised how often it does happen. You read a couple of lines in the local newspaper. The little boy I knew, he was the most beautiful and lovely child, was not in any paper or on the news.

Nagoo Sat 20-Oct-12 14:14:46

I would do the wrist strap. If you have a bolter you have to do what you need to do to keep him safe.

KnickersOnOnesHead Sat 20-Oct-12 14:19:23

My ds is almost four. And is a swine for running off. I went out and bought a very cheap buggy, and a wrist strap. If we are out for the day/shopping etc he gets told before we go that the first time he runs off he will be in the buggy. He's had screaming fits whilst I strap him in and have had people stare but I'd rather that than me have to bury him :/

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 20-Oct-12 14:20:25


HappyHalloweenMotherFucker Sat 20-Oct-12 14:25:30

stop talking

get the wrist strap

ecto Sat 20-Oct-12 15:00:47

Reins, wrist strap or buggy. Absolutely no negotiation. Since he actually stands to potentially die if he runs off, this is one of the rare situations where I would condone smacking. Road safety is a lesson he absolutely must learn.

deleted203 Sat 20-Oct-12 15:03:20

Reins. Immediately. Before the kid dies. You can then have the conversation about, 'because you behave like a toddler you are back on reins'. He can't be in charge - he's 4.

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