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AIBU to ask for toddler advice - posting for traffic

24 replies

CarrotFingers · 18/06/2017 18:48

DS is almost 3. DD is 7 weeks. I am finding it impossible to go out with both of them, as DS seems utterly incapable of not running away, which was hard to cope with when I was heavily pregnant and hard now I've got DD in the buggy. Here's what I've tried:

-Reins. They obviously stop the running off but not the constant straining, screaming, pulling and/or sitting down and refusing to move.

-Explaining calmly what we'll be doing, and that he needs to stay with us. It doesn't work at all - as soon as he gets the urge to run off, he does.

  • Praising when he does hold our hands briefly. After a few moments he twists away and off he goes.

  • Following through with a threat to leave the park etc if he runs off. There's tears and sobbing. But he'll still do it again the next time we're out.

  • Bribery - he doesn't care if he doesn't get the treat if he stays safe.

I have both DS and DD on my own twice a week (he's in nursery 3 days), and all we do is sit in the house as I dare not head out with both. Today in the park DH and I told him to sit with us in the shade for a few moments while we all had a drink and a cool down, but after about 10 seconds he darted off and almost ran into a fast-spinning roundabout which would have certainly knocked him over (DH grabbed him just in time). Last week he almost ran into a teen on a bike, when running off from us explaining to him he needed to stay safe. And recently he ran off in a shopping centre with me weaving after him in the buggy. He's big and strong and just screams/avoids eye contact when he's been stopped, so is impossible to communicate with. Any advice? It's really starting to affect our trips out.
OP posts:

Bringmewineandcake · 18/06/2017 18:53

Buggy board?


IceCreamIScream · 18/06/2017 18:57

Since I had my second I've had to be more strategic about places to go with them both. Fortunately DD1 isn't a bolter most of the time but she does like to explore on her own/ run off and can be prone to an epic tantrum or two.

I got a buggyboard for travelling which she thankfully loves standing on- but if yours is a bolter perhaps a double buggy would be best? Ive also figured out the 'safe places' to go with both -namely gated playgrounds at quiet times, library sessions, kid friendly museums or even dreaded soft play so she can let off some steam relatively safely.

But I found it was a bit of a phase with her which has now thankfully got a bit better. Hoping someone else might have some more useful advice!


WhosTakingDeHorseToFrance · 18/06/2017 18:58

I found the only thing that worked was reins and the threat of going back in the buggy "like a baby". There was plenty of screaming and sir down protests but eventually he came round and it became the established routine.
Buggy bird as pp suggested useful for when little legs get tired.
It will get better Flowers


IceCreamIScream · 18/06/2017 18:58

Oh and a reward chart has started to work wonders for us...


CarrotFingers · 18/06/2017 19:00

I may try one, but knowing what he's like I'm not entirely sure he'll stay on it. It would perhaps work in shops etc but he does lots of his running off during time in parks or areas where he's got some freedom to roam - so today he was happily playing on a slide, but after a few goes he turned round and ran into a field behind the park not visible from where I was stood with DD. He laughed and tried to run further when I caught up with him. I know toddlers can't always control their impulses but it happens aaaaaaall the time, we went out with some friends last weekend with their toddler and either myself or DH spent most of the afternoon chasing DS!

OP posts:

IHaveACrapCat · 18/06/2017 19:01

Baby in a sling and DS in the pram? DD is just 3 and we use the pram occasionally still for longer journeys. Or a scooter/balance bike might work well as long as they're not bolting off and crossing roads on their own


2014newme · 18/06/2017 19:04

I didn't take my twins to the park by myself for a year as I couldn't save both of them from self inflicted injury at the same time.
It us a,phase and it does pass.
In shops could you try putting him in trolley seat?
If he's impossible to communicate with, is this just when cross that he can't do what he wants when he runs off or do you think it could be a sen issue?


2014newme · 18/06/2017 19:06

Another option is put him in buggy as well as baby, double buggy, or have it as a threat that if he runs away he'll have to go in buggy.


minniebear · 18/06/2017 19:06

I agree-baby in sling, toddler in buggy, double buggy or buggy board plus reins on a very short lead so he can't get himself off the buggy board?


ElspethFlashman · 18/06/2017 19:07

You just have to out him in the buggy tbh. Only let out at playground. Baby in sling.

I just couldn't manage otherwise. It's hard enough but knowing they were both virtually immobile helped my confidence a lot.


Elllicam · 18/06/2017 19:07

I have a 2 year old who is also a bolter. The only thing that works for us is putting him in the pram as soon as he tries it. I have a sling for the baby.


ElspethFlashman · 18/06/2017 19:08

Oh and bring a snack for distraction purposes to avoid the inevitable tantrum when you try to put them back in the buggy again.


captainproton · 18/06/2017 19:08

My son can be a bit like this. He's 3 too and finds it hilarious to basically mess about without really thinking he's going to get hurt. 3 going on 13.

So basically I'm done explaining the danger in a soft voice at eye level whilst he couldn't care less. I don't issue warnings and I don't respond to his, "last chance mummy!" Requests. He almost shoved my 4 year old dd into the path of a bus on Friday. And I got a 16 month old with me for extra fun. I got to be strict when the need arises. Totally outnumbered.

So I mean business now. He does something he's been warned not do because it's dangerous, going to hurt others or damage property. It's immediate removal and loss of whatever privelege I feel will cause him enough grief to think, "mummy does not want me to behave like a little sod anymore."

I favour the under arm scoop, I can push a shopping trolley or buggy with one hand and him kicking off in the under arm scoop in the other.

I don't say a word, I don't engage with him. We go somewhere safe or home//car and I get down to his level and I give him a right telling off. He usually cries and he says sorry but I don't give in and then let him have a treat or play with something really special for when he's good, just cos he said sorry. He nearly shoved his sister under a bus.

If we are home and he's hurt a sibling he's sent to his room or put on the naughty step outside and he will usually not get to have an ice cream or something, if I have stipulated these are for good kids.

But also I know it's hot, and he's probably bored. So I do try to take that into account too. Your son has a new sibling and a world change.

Go to parks with enclosed play areas and times when it's less busy. Don't set him up to fail, he won't have much self control at 3.


CarrotFingers · 18/06/2017 19:08

Thanks all....IceCream I have discovered a few 'safe spaces' and we did venture to one tiny soft play last week, I was ridiculously proud of myself for braving it Grin I'll look into library sessions, hadn't thought of that. DD is a very chilled baby and generally sleeps in her buggy - I wouldn't mind buying a double one but we have a tiny car so I'm not sure one would fit Sad

DH was dropping him at nursery last week and paused briefly to chat to a friend (long straight street, no cars) - DS walked off, and DH did the whole 'oh he'll stop when he gets too far...' Nope - he got so far a lady stopped him as she thought he was by himself, with DH sprinting after him. He felt terrible all day.

OP posts:

captainproton · 18/06/2017 19:14

I'm not sure about buggies for 3 year olds, depends if they are nearly 4 or nearer 3. By 4 they got to be used to walking sensibly as they will be going to school and may have to walk in groups to churches/libraries. I think you got to give them the opportunity to try to be more mature.


LadyMonicaBaddingham · 18/06/2017 19:20

What about a wrist link strap? Feels a bit less 'babyish' than reins might to him, but gives you more control over his bolting instinct... We used them a a stepping stone between reins and just hand-holding.


CarrotFingers · 18/06/2017 19:25

I bought a sling last week, so I could definitely try baby in sling and him in pushchair. I'm a bit slow and clunky getting DD in and out of it but I will try that this week.

He does have a beautiful purple microscooter which he doesn't ever want to use Sad we got it for his 2nd birthday and it's been used precisely once. So that's not an option at the moment unfortunately, I'm very sad about it as it's a lovely scooter!

Re the communication - he is an extremely emotional child - laughs and smiles a lot, very happy generally, but can get overwrought by the smallest things and when this happens he can't be reasoned with or spoken to. I'm keeping an eye on that and may discuss with HV at some point, he fidgets a lot and has always been a poor sleeper, taking a long time to wind down on an evening.

captain you're a hero with three! But I honestly couldn't carry him - he's always been 91st centile for weight and is very tall, and I just couldn't hold him under my arm like that at all. I do give him piggy backs when I can, and try to start every trip with a fresh mind, keeping things relaxed.

OP posts:

IceCreamIScream · 18/06/2017 19:27

I hear you on the tiny car situation. Only because the buggy board was a success I've not yet had to look at double buggies- and now I keep the sling under the pram like PPs have said so if DD1 is tired or tantrumming,I can put her in the pram and DD2 in the sling.

The logistical nightmare of entertaining & carting two about does get easier though I promise! I've found that they both weirdly love a trip to the supermarket where I can sit them both in the trolley. DD1 gets a magazine if she behaves herself, I get a coffee in the cafe and DD2 seems to love sitting in the baby seat up high. Also any play & stay sessions are great as there's always someone you can hand the baby to if toddler bolts and thankfully lots of other mums who know how hard it can be with two.

Hang on in there!


Dishwashersaurous · 18/06/2017 19:32

Get a Phil and Ted's double second hand. If you have a local Facebook selling site ask on there and someone is bound to be selling it.

They only take up as much space as a single.

You will only need it for six months as he will grow out of this phase but it will save your sanity. If it all gets too much then you can strap them both in and march around your area


Dishwashersaurous · 18/06/2017 19:33

Also toddler groups are a good option as there are lots of friendly people around who can help out


captainproton · 18/06/2017 19:35

I think you got to decide if he's doing it to push your buttons to get a reaction. Or if he is genuinely oblivious to danger.

The first situation is definitely my lad. He gets bored hanging around doing stuff for the 16 mo and will play up. That's why it's a zero tolerance stance I now have. Never has a child been more ready for school than DS. He sees all the fun his eldest sister gets to do and he's stuck with mum and baby when he's not at preschool.

Genuine lack of self awareness in dangerous situations may need another approach.

I think 3 yo can get themselves worked up over lots of minor things. If my lad goes into meltdown (and even the eldest on occasion) it's off to bed for a nap. This weather doesn't help either.

I would never let my boy out on a scooter by a road or anywhere he could scoot away from me quickly. I think it's too much of a risk.


frozenfairy123 · 18/06/2017 19:51

This sounds like my ds1 and I'm getting him assessed for sensory issues. I have found double buggies useful but at 4 I still have to watch him as he often bolts xx


CarrotFingers · 18/06/2017 20:54

Really frozen? My DS certainly has some sensory issues - he won't wear certain textures, or most hats, and really hates having nails and hair cut. He also gets very anxious at unexpected noises. I can never work out if he's just at the 'extreme' end of normal toddler behaviour or there are some extra issues. He's bright, has excellent language, is kind and funny and affectionate but he has always been very high energy and finds it hard to calm down.

OP posts:

CeCeBloomer · 18/06/2017 21:31

I have a nearly 3 yr old and a 7 month old, I tend to do baby in sling and toddler either just holding hand or on trike. Best places to go are soft play or aquarium, museum where baby is still entertained looking at everything whilst toddler can have some space to run

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