Originally Posted by mamazee
Some kids stay close, and some kids bolt. You have a bolter. Most kids start getting a bit of sense by 4, but that's a while away. So you need some kind of management tool.
You can either:
Hold hands every single time you go out
Use a stroller part of the time to contain her
Use a leash (understandable IMO for keeping a child safe if you have a bolter.)
Bring an extra adult with an extra pair of hands when you go out
I have had one bolter and one clinger. Bolters are very difficult. It's scary. I didn't use a leash but sometimes I wish I had. One time she just about ran into a busy street, and I grabbed her arm so hard I left a bruise (small, but still!) I felt horrible! But it was like an instinct. Grab hard enough there's no way she can get away and pull away from the street. I don't know if that was better than a leash. I kind of think a leash would be better, particularly when I might not have caught her before she got out into the busy street.
Be warned: there are those who think there is never a legitimate reason to have a leash. I disagree, based on my experience. I think they can be misused, but if it's used just to keep them safe and not to discipline them, it seems like a good choice to me. At least as much as the other choices don't seem better. It's like a situation where there is no great choice and you have to just do the best you can.
This. I had bolters. You don't get it until you have one. "They" say, "Well, you just have to teach them to stay with you." I welcomed any of "them" to try. LOL.
Both of mine went through a phase, less than a year's time, when they had 2 options: Hold my hand, or be strapped into something. It was non-negotiable. They were not always happy about it (my daughter especially - but I became public-tantrum-humiliation-proof by the time my she was 3), but the alternatives (me running like a crazy person to be right on their tail, or having them get run over or lost) were unacceptable. I quite literally had their hand in mine before their feet hit open pavement. Hand in mine before the house door was open, hand in mine before they got out of their car seat, hand in mine getting out of the shopping cart. You get the picture. They got run around time in the back yard and at enclosed playgrounds, so I didn't feel badly about squashing it when we were out and about in public non-playground places.
All of that was obviously accompanied by discussions and reminders, and the occasional "practice" of them walking and staying with me (which I knew was probably not going to work so I only did it when there was no danger). Somewhere around 3-1/2 they got it better. But honestly, they're still runners, and I still have to remind them sometimes (they're 8 and 6 now) - but at least now they listen to me.
I didn't use a leash with my son (the older), but did with my daughter (the younger) because she was just....faster, and more obstinate, and I had the older kid to keep track of, too. I used it a handful of times when we were in busy public places where it would have been easy to lost track of her (festival, crazy busy bowling alley, museum). She was SO much happier with the harness than holding my hand or being strapped into a stroller....so it was in fact the lesser of all evils. Peple can have all the opinions they want, but if the options were:
- child screaming bloody murder in a stroller
- child limp noodling on the floor while screaming and holding my hand
- child being lost and having hysterical mother screaming for child
- child happily walking with bear backpack harness
guess which is the one that was happening. They could tsk and clutch their pearls or think how awful I was for treating my kid like a dog, I did not care. :lol