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July 06, 2005


Julieta Pérez

Thanks for the comments, many of which have been useful, especially after having to run out of a bathroom stall with my pants around my ankles after Nicole (2) slid army-style under the door and onto a second-floor landing with no banisters to speak of. After hearing the astonished "Oh's" of the other patrons at the restaurant, I have since wondered if saving her little running butt was worth the embarrasment!!! Just kidding.


My daughter would wander off in the Mall - not necessarily trying to run away, but certainly not at all concerned about staying near me. One day I watched her walk away, and let her wander along by herself for a few minutes. I stayed close enough to be able to watch and protect her, but far enough back that, when she finally turned around to see where I was, she couldn't see me. She was worried at first, then very concerned, then she started to panic. She went from worried to panicked in less than ten seconds, and I very quickly stepped forward and hugged her. That moment of fear cured her of her wandering habits. She would sometimes stray, but she kept checking behind to see that I was still there.


Charlene, at this stage in your son's life, it is not the 'knowing' but the 'doing' that is important for him. I think that as parents we cannot afford to be fearful of having 'control' over our children - that is our job. So, Nolan needs more than anything to know that he must obey, whether he can recognise that it is for safety's sake or not. Do the "Super Nanny" thing and go for practice runs in the park. Tell him that when you call "STOP!" and raise your hand in a stop 'sign', he must do just that, and if he doesn't then there must be a consequence to his behaviour, whether that means he holds onto the pram or your hand; and if he refuses to do that, then warn him once that if he doesn't do it straight away then that ends the outing, and home you go. Of course then this means you now have him firmly by the hand, struggling with the pram, but your efforts will be worth it, as he will get the message that he simply must do what you ask of him. The safety issue can be given to him briefly and simply, but at his age too much info can worry or confuse him. I simply said to my boy (he's now 4) that I need to have him near me and he needs to always listen to and obey me because it is my job to take care of him. That simple message worked and now he's learning that not everyone is friendly, not everyone cares about others, and it is important to make sure he can see Mummy and/or Daddy when we are out, and that we can see him. Speak firmly and lovingly to your boy, encourage his efforts and be more persistant than he could be(!!) and definitely be consistant, and you shall be rewarded with a boy who will then be able to show the new baby how to behave on an outing...


I established rules with the girls when each of them were very young and wanted to walk "by themsleves". The rule has been drilled into their head and they still follow it today.
I would get down at their level and ask them to tell me the rule. "Stay by Mommy and Daddy" What would happen if they didn't? "We have to ride in the cart"

Frankly, I was surprised at first when it worked!


He's acting a normal 3 year old who should have more freedom. He's too old to sit passively in a stroller. Most of my kids were out by two. I know that American kids sit longer, but he's big enough to learn to walk with you and help push the baby. Take him to places where he can safely run around, and then he'll have more patience.


When my daughter was born, my son was just 18 months old, and just at the height of the run-aways. He quickly realized that Mommy couldn't catch him as quickly while holding onto the infant carrier. He ran from me often. I was so worried! One day, he ran and I had to choose, do I set my baby down here on the sidewalk or risk not catching him? Terrible! (A friend walked out of a store nearby just in time, so I set Baby Girl down and dashed after my son. I caught him just a step away from a blind corner in the parking lot.)
After that experience, I bought the harness "leash." I used it with him for several days after the incident. I used some of the Super Nanny's strategy. I told him that when he could walk with Mommy, he did n't have to wear the harness. It took less than a week to earn the right to walk freely. Then he learned that if he didn't listen to my direction, he would have to hold on to the stroller for a bit to gain self control.

I felt horrible, and embarrassed to have him "leashed" but the peace of mind regarding his safety was well worth it. I thought we would have more negative comments than we did. Really, the most common comment was, "where did you get that?" and "does it work?"

Since then several of my friends have felt the need to use similar tactics. All have had success in a short amount of time.


My daughter Pearl is having "perimeter issues" too, so this discussion has been very interesting to me. Thanks.


When Lillianna was in her running free stage, I bought the wrist band that attached to each of us with plenty of running space for her to walk ahead a bit if she wanted to. It really made me mad when people would say I had my child on a leash. To me, a leash is for an animal and is worn around the neck. This was worn around our wrists and it was to save her life!

It was a fantastic invention and I never ever had to look frantically for my lost child or run after her when she got away from me. She was never able to get away from me.She actually loved it and I told her it was so that I wouldn't get lost. She thought she was doing me a favor and helping ME not get lost by wearing the wrist band.
She would pat my hand and say,"I promise not to lose you,Mommy." And she never did!
As she got older, she had to walk right next to me. If she walked too far,she had to hold my hand.
Even now,at 7 1/2 years old, if we are walking in a mall and it suddenly becomes crowded in the area we are walking through,she grabs my hand. I love that.
Good luck.


Charlene, I have the same fears. Glad that you brought it up.

Terri, Maia and Leslie have interesting experiences and advices. True, I'd rather have other people stare at me than risk my son's safety.


Charlene, I have the same fears. Glad that you brought it up.

Terri, Maia and Leslie have interesting experiences and advices. True, I'd rather have other people stare at me than risk my son's safety.


I remember watching Supernanny recently where one of the families had the same issue. The nanny's solution was to allow the child to walk on his own provided he freeze whenever the mom yelled "stop!". If he wasn't obeying, then he had to hold onto the side of the stroller the whole time. The "stop!" became a game and the son seemed to really enjoy the ability to run free as long as he stopped when his mom thought he was too far away or near something dangerous. The fear of having to walk holding onto to the boring stroller helped him listen well. Perhaps it would work for you?? I remember thinking this was a good solution and to file it away for when my own son is older! Good luck!


the younger of the two girls i nannied had the 'bolt' gene, so her mom bought a leash. her father and i both sort of thought it was 'overkill' and talked at length about the uncomfortable reactions from others...until the day she ran out of their church, into the middle of a busy intersection before anyone had blinked or could catch her. she was so lucky that all the drivers saw her and could stop in time.

after that incident none of the adults in her life minded the hostile reaction from others that the leash seems to inspire!


It's been a lot of years since I've gone through this, but I still remember it well. That fear when they take off running.

I remember bringing it up to my pediatrician, who just sort of shrugged it off with a "They'll grow out of it" comment.

I was FURIOUS at the time, because it's really scary. Taking off in the direction of the water, the woods, the busy street... when they are at that "think with their feet" stage, nothing mom or dad says matters. They just want to RUN.

I tried talking to him: nada. I tried positive reinforcement with stickers if he stayed near mom and dad: nada.

Finally I went with one of those wrist-to-wrist things. I got horrible lectures from relatives and friends - most of whom DID NOT have toddlers, mind you - about how horrible it was that I was "leashing" my son. I got hostile stares when we went out. Fine. I'd rather "leash" than have a toddler in the water, or the woods, or a busy street.

And you know, my pediatrician was right. He did "grow out of it". But in the interim, I'm glad I had my wrist-to-wrist until he did. Hope this helps.

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