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2yr old runs off, won't hold my hand, won't listen - advice please

(35 Posts)
Greyclay Thu 10-Sep-09 16:41:10

My lovely, precocious 2 year old DD is worrying me and her father by tending to run off on us when we are out walking with her.

She fights us when we try to make her hold our hands and she fights us when we try to steer her in the direction we are walking. When she runs off on her own, we try to verbally dissuade her but it often ends up with one of us chasing after her to catch her. Which she sees as a funny game of course.

We always try to explain that she has to listen to us and it's not safe to run off on us like that (we live in an urban area) and we diligently explain street safety. But it's only half sinking in and only when she feels like listening. She is very independent and I don't want to squash her spirit by forcing her into her pram every time we go out.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 10-Sep-09 16:43:45

Why don't you put her in reins? 2 is very young to understand the dangers of cars and roads IMO.
She can still walk and explore, but you can stop her going anywhere dangerous.

Overmydeadbody Thu 10-Sep-09 16:43:54

No point explaining to a 2yr old.

If she runs off, immediately put her in the pushchair, attach reins or whatever, until you have trained her to stay with you.

You have my sympathies, I had a runner, I resorted to tying him to me with some climbing rope once abroad as he kept running away.

A few times of getting lost and he soon learnt his lesson.

Overmydeadbody Thu 10-Sep-09 16:45:02

2 is too young to understand the concept of running off being dangerous.

franklymydear Thu 10-Sep-09 16:45:54

A 2 year old running off needs to be grabbed and held or put in a pushchair with a firm no.

"we try to verbally dissuade her" doesn't work because she's 2 and that's a game

explaining and explaining - she's 2 - lay down some laws. Get some parenting cojones

Ceebee74 Thu 10-Sep-09 16:46:12

I have no idea but would love to know the answer.

DS1 has been exactly the same for as long as I can remember (he did go through a phase of wearing his reins happily but that didn't last long) - he is now 3.2 and still prone to running off.

It drives me crazy and really wish I could enjoy walking with him but because of the way he is, I just don't go out for walks with him sad Me and DH love walking but it is just not worth all the stress it involves (and when we do, DH usually ends up with him on his shoulders as it is the only way to control him).

I take him to nursery every day and back in a stroller as I have DS2 in a sling and there is no way I could chase after DS1!

allaboutme Thu 10-Sep-09 16:47:06

My DS is STILL like this at nearly 4.
I always take a pram with me (double as I have younger DS as well) and if DS1 starts running off, in the pram he goes.
He is gradually getting better. I live in hope that ONE DAY we'll be able to go out without worrying about him running in to danger

preciouslillywhite Thu 10-Sep-09 16:47:18

This is very common IME- I couldn't put reins on my twins but I had to do some pretty firm wrist holding at that age!

No fun at all as I remember it...don't worry won't last forever wink

bibbitybobbityhat Thu 10-Sep-09 16:47:48

You need reins.

EldonAve Thu 10-Sep-09 16:49:09

As others have said maybe use reins

I always have a buggy with me so for mine the choice is hold hands or go in the buggy

neolara Thu 10-Sep-09 16:50:51

Buggy. My dd was a runner. Absolutely nothing I did made any difference at all until she was about 3 1/2 and she grew out of it. Now she's very sensible. Some run. Some don't. If you have an absconder, the priority is keeping them safe. Your dd won't have her spirit crushed by being in a buggy. She might not like it, but at least she will be safe.

Greyclay Thu 10-Sep-09 16:54:13

Thanks all.

"verbally dissuading" is only a portion of what we try. The rest usually involves manhandling of some kind. And the no's that go with it. I was just wondering if anyone had additional tips.

I haven't actually considered reins yet. Perhaps keeping her strapped in the stroller until we get to where we are going is going to have to be par for the course.

Thanks also for the stories of commiseration (4 years old and still running off! Sigh!). Off to a meeting but will check in again shortly.

Marne Thu 10-Sep-09 16:58:41

I would put her in a buggy or on reins, 2 is very young and i would be to worried about her running off.

I have the same problem with my daughter but she's 3.5.

hippomother Thu 10-Sep-09 17:00:22

My son is a runner and the only thing I find helpful is a wriststrap. I tell him it's so he can look after me.

Fizzylemonade Thu 10-Sep-09 17:05:30

Reins are easier as you can put them in your pocket whereas you have a pram and have to run with that when trying to catch them. Been there, done that.

I tend to do walking when we are on pavements and then letting both my sons run wild in a park/open fields etc. They are 6 and 3 now but it showed them that there was a time when we needed to walk and a time for running wild in a safe place.

Also even now with ds2 he is allowed to walk next to me when we walk ds1 to school but if he runs ahead he has to hold my hand.

He is a fighter and it is awful when I have forced him to do it but personally I would rather see a parent lay down the law than watch their child run across a busy road and the parent lamely say "oh Tarquin, Mummy doesn't like it when you risk your life" grin

Not saying that is what you do but some parents are embarrassed to discipline their child in public.

juicy12 Thu 10-Sep-09 17:09:24

Reins are great if your child will go in them. Both mine hated them and would literally stage a sit-down protest! At least you can keep moving if they're strapped in a buggy. Both mine were runners and, similar to other posters they were put firmly back in teh buggy until they could "walk nicely with mummy." They soon cottoned on that nice walking meant not having to go in teh buggy. I also made a BIG fuss if they did walk properly, telling DH when he got home etc. Try to stay calm and emotionless if she runs off and just put her back in the buggy with a firm "If you can't walk nicely, you'll have to go in teh buggy" then big smiles when she does comply!

hippomother Thu 10-Sep-09 17:10:16

Yes, my DS used to 'drop' when we tried reins.

randomtask Thu 10-Sep-09 17:16:58

My niece when she was 2 was good at walking sensibly but would then get excited and run off. So, the reins stayed in her Mum's bag (or mine when I had her) and if she didn't walk well/hold hands in dangerous areas she had to wear the reins. She never wore the reins with me as she always wanted to go wherever we were off to (Aunty's luck).

Your DD will soon learn if you make it a 'walk well or walk like a baby' decision. If she's like my nieces, she's too independent to want to be a baby!

dogonpoints Thu 10-Sep-09 17:22:42

reins. dd2 was a nightmare for running off betwen the ages of 2 and 4. If more than one adult was there, one of us escorted her back to sit in the car on more than one occasion.

dogonpoints Thu 10-Sep-09 17:24:00

full body reins and then we went to hand rein.

We had to lift under arm and carry a very angry small child too at ttimes.

FimbleHobbs Thu 10-Sep-09 17:24:49

We have a backpack for DD with a strap attached. It looks like a bumble bee. Same idea as reins but more palatable to her.

ThingumyandBob Thu 10-Sep-09 17:39:03

I also have a 2 year old runner, we have reins and if she still won’t go the way we need then it’s a fireman’s lift or the buggy.

To be fair I do try and go for regular off road for a walks and let her choose the route so she can exercise her independence, I have found this has helped and when we’ve been back on the pavement she doesn’t seem to have the need to ‘break free’ as often. I joined a local garden to take her too as they have proper paths to follow and green spaces to run in, I still need to sprint after her though as there are lakes and things but she loves it.

giveloveachance Thu 10-Sep-09 17:45:56

I know this sounds strange, but with my littler runner, and no other experience to call upon, I treated the situation the same as if she were a dog!! that is, when she ran off i started by getting her to stop in her tracks first - with heaps and heaps of praise and lots of practice at home. so at least she would stop before she got too far, then I started making a game of her coming back, and with a huge amount of fuss and praise when she came back of her own accord. If I had to give chase, I did not smile, and just picked her up and carried her back to the buggy / car. It worked.

With the hand holding thing - just kept repeating how nice is to hold hands, and reading books when someone was holding hands (even if it was pooh andpiglet) I would say, oh its so nice to hold hands - a bit of brain washing..... iguess! and topped that off with giving her a choice, hold my hand or be carried - she does not like to be carried when she wants to walk so will give in!

took about two weeks of persistent effort.

3littlefrogs Thu 10-Sep-09 17:50:39

Reins. She is 2. Expecting a 2 year old to understand and remember your explanations is totally unrealistic and not appropriate to her age and development. She sounds completely normal to me smile

Greyclay Thu 10-Sep-09 19:32:52

Thanks for your time ladies. I am aware that her "bolting" behaviour is normal. I used to do it myself at her age. Apparently, I used to try to take myself to the local shops when my mum's back was turned.

To give further context, we only let her "run free" when we are at a park or in some other safe area, but still, we live in an urban area, so the concrete jungle is never very far away. We have been trying to practice walking with her...

Again, to be clear, we don't expect her to understand our grown-up logic...we just talk to her as one of the many ways in which we try to communicate with her. She's our first and probably last so we don't really know what the hell we're doing sometimes. But we try to experiment with a variety of approaches to see what works.

I am interested in the wrist line as an approach....might try that and see. I also like the idea of just catching her and putting her in her pram with a neutral expression and no "talk" if she runs off. (non-verbal communication).

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