Anyone let their toddler run around in stores? - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-01-2009, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I sometimes allow my 19 month old daughter to run around in stores when my husband is with us to watch her. If I am alone shopping with her, she doesn't leave the shopping cart.

I'm wondering if any other parents do this. I don't see many others her age running around & sometimes I wonder if we should allow this. Sometimes she does get a little crazy & runs really fast around the store. If my husband & I are there, she seems to expect to be able to do this.

Another concern I have is that, I feel she needs to learn how to follow me around the store & not the other way around. KWIM? How do I teach her this, or is there some point when she will understand this & actually follow me.

I'm thinking sometime when she wants out of the cart with both of us there, that we should use that as the opportunity to show her that she has to stay close, or put her back in the cart. It may take a while for her to learn & there may be tantrums involved, but do you think that is a good plan? Or do you think she's too young to understand that at this point? Tell me what you think!
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Old 07-01-2009, 11:57 AM
 
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I don't let DD run around. I don't really think it's safe. They can so quickly dart and get into something they shouldn't or have someone crash into them with a cart or whatever. It's been easier for me to have the rule for shopping be the rule whether it's me, DH or both of us. No confusion about how she acts when. At that age though DD was still totally happy staying in the sling so it wasn't an issue at all.

My DD would have been too young to learn that lesson of following me. She's 2.5 now and capable of learning the lesson, but I still cannot trust her ability to control her impulse to dart. So I still spend a lot of time reminding her to stay right next to me or hold my hand (I usually don't shop with a cart).

I explain to DD in advance the expectation and remind a lot. So we discuss before the store that she carries the basket or holds my hand and we go over it often as she does otherwise. So yes, I think teaching her the lesson that if she wants to walk, she has to stay with you is a good lesson.
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Old 07-01-2009, 11:57 AM
 
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DD is 2 YO and we don't let her run around stores. Mostly, this is because it's not safe for her. She's fast and it would be very easy for someone to come around the corner in a shopping cart and run into her without even knowing she was coming because she's a short little toddler. It's also very easy for a small child to get away from you in a store, even if you're watching her closely - I'd never want my DD to disappear around a corner. I'd be in a panic!

Personally, I think 19 MO is a little young to understand that she needs to follow you around a store. They just want to explore at that age, so it will be very hard for her to stick by you once her eye catches on something exciting. It will come with time.

As for the tantrums, yeah it might happen, but she's a toddler so they're going to happen anyway. You can try to distract her with something to hold (a favorite box of cereal, etc.), by singing songs or acting silly. I also spent a fair amount of time wearing DD around stores, even while she was a young toddler, so that's always an option.

HTH!

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Old 07-01-2009, 12:10 PM
 
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nak

no, could get hurt or lost, i like my kids in the cart but am trying to teach them to stay by me now that they are older. my 6 yr old can do this fine but my 3 yr old drives me nuts w/playing in clothing racks, dissapearing, etc.

i think i will leave my older kids home next time i try to go shopping (other than grocery) bc i don't enjoy myself when i have to wrangle 3 kids.

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Old 07-01-2009, 12:10 PM
 
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I do not let my LO's run around in stores. It's not safe and it is frustrating/annoying to the other shoppers and to the people that work there. I just don't think it's appropriate.

I expect my children to behave in public, age appropriate of course, and runing around is not good behavior IMO.

Besides, I never want to lose sight of my children in public, I start to panic extremely quickly.
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Old 07-01-2009, 12:24 PM
 
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Count me as another one who would not do this. It is dangerous for the child. People are pushing shopping carts and it is hard to see over them even if they are not filled to the brim. Plus, people are often looking at the shelves and not on the watch for little kids. Also, there are so many aisles and racks and nooks for a child to find and get lost in, I would be very worried about that. Finally, I just don't think it is fair to the other customers to have to deal with a toddler on the loose. What if they did, accidentally, hit her. That would be very distressing.

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Old 07-01-2009, 12:25 PM
 
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We do let dd (17 months) run around in the store. I don't have any safety concerns and I think that she learns much more this way. She's not very fast and either me or dh is always right behind her. She loves looking at all the stuff there is to see. We are also able to teach her that if she picks something up she has to put it back where she got it. She's not making a mess and she's not in anybody's way. I'm not concerned about her learning to stay with us because she's still young. Actually, dd has a more reserved/ shy personality so I like giving her the chance to do things like run around a store because it helps her get out of her shell.
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Old 07-01-2009, 12:28 PM
 
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We do let dd (17 months) run around in the store. I don't have any safety concerns and I think that she learns much more this way. She's not very fast and either me or dh is always right behind her. She loves looking at all the stuff there is to see. We are also able to teach her that if she picks something up she has to put it back where she got it. She's not making a mess and she's not in anybody's way. I'm not concerned about her learning to stay with us because she's still young. Actually, dd has a more reserved/ shy personality so I like giving her the chance to do things like run around a store because it helps her get out of her shell.
This was my dd to a T at that age. We spent lots of time just hanging out at Target nearby where we lived then. She loved looking at the beads and arranging the plungers, LOL! I never worried about her running off because she wasn't a darter. Starting around age 2.5 she got to where she would follow with us or sit in the cart. Before that, she flat out refused to sit in a cart so dh would follow her while the I shopped.

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Old 07-01-2009, 12:31 PM
 
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I'm ok with letting dd out of the cart or sling when she wants down and the store isn't crowded. She is 17 mos. She toddles around looking at stuff and smiles and says "Hi-eee!" to all the little old ladies. (She is creating quite the fan club) If she starts getting a little too "excited" I stick her back in the cart or sling. Sometimes she gets a little tantrumy but I usually carry a little bag-o-tricks with me and that'll difuse the situation.

If the store is crazy-busy though, she is definitely not running around.
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Old 07-01-2009, 12:31 PM
 
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Absolutely not. At that age, IF dh was with us I would let her walk- but she had to WALK and had to stay by daddy or hold his hand.

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Old 07-01-2009, 12:33 PM
 
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No. My older kids walk holding onto the cart and my 2yo either rides in the seat or on my back. It's not safe for them to be running all over the place, even if someone is there to chase them. I know I have almost run over several little kids who darted out of an aisle in front of my cart. I agree with the PP that it is inconsiderate to the other shoppers and employees of the store. I don't think other shoppers/employees should have to worry about my kids running around infront of them. I certainly wouldn't run around the store so why wouldn't I teach my kids that it's not okay?

My kids are in a carrier or the cart/stroller until they are mature enough to walk beside me. My 2yo would love to get down and walk sometimes, but it's just not an option for us right now. He gets a choice between my back and the cart and that is generally good enough. Throw in the option of nursing in the sling and it's always good enough.
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Old 07-01-2009, 12:35 PM
 
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I don't allow it. My 3 year old will do it if given the chance. It is not safe as he can get away pretty quickly and I can't see him, other people aren't watching for him and could run into him (which they shouldn't be watching, it is not their responsibility to watch out for my child with their cart) and had a close call once where he ran pretty close to an elderly person with a cane. Can you imagine if he had bumped into him or startled him and he fell and broke a hip! Lots of seniors are unsteady and so easily could fall. He is in the cart/ stroller or holds my hand. When my children were younger and liked to wander, I would let them do that in the mall if I had time and they weren't running, I could follow them around. I think that is fine, but literally running around? No.
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Old 07-01-2009, 12:35 PM
 
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Count me as another one who would not do this. It is dangerous for the child. People are pushing shopping carts and it is hard to see over them even if they are not filled to the brim. Plus, people are often looking at the shelves and not on the watch for little kids. Also, there are so many aisles and racks and nooks for a child to find and get lost in, I would be very worried about that. Finally, I just don't think it is fair to the other customers to have to deal with a toddler on the loose. What if they did, accidentally, hit her. That would be very distressing.

Pretty much this....you have to think about other shoppers too. It's not a private store. I feel that when my first was young, I didn't think of other people and thought everyone should be on the same page with me about my precious, sweet toddler...

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Old 07-01-2009, 12:36 PM
 
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I'm thinking there are two different trains of t hought going on here. Actual RUNNING around willy-nilly and walking near mama. I'm in the walking near mama camp.
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Old 07-01-2009, 12:54 PM
 
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I'm thinking there are two different trains of t hought going on here. Actual RUNNING around willy-nilly and walking near mama. I'm in the walking near mama camp.
Yes. And there is a difference between quietly exploring with a parent watching and running around and tearing up things. My child would scream bloody murder until she was 2.5 if I ever put her in a shopping cart (or a sling!) so I felt it would be more considerate to others and interesting for dd if she had her freedom.

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Old 07-01-2009, 12:55 PM
 
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No. Mine are both too big for carts now but I rarely let them out of the cart before about age 3. If they were walking calmly close to me, that is one thing. But running had a tendency to be their default speed. A small child running around in the store is just not safe -- they can get run into/over and they can also run into and topple others. Its also very easy for them to get too close to bottles and jars, leaving a wake of distruction behind them (ask me how I know this...)
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Old 07-01-2009, 12:56 PM
 
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I don't let my children run around a store. They could (and have) run into shelves, displays and other shoppers. They could also get lost.

I do let them walk with me. First while holding my hand, then with increasing amounts of freedom as long as they stay close.

Joy wife to DH, mom to DS1 (4/2005): DD (5/2007) : : DS2 (1/2009 :
I do what works and when it stops working, then I do something else.
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Old 07-01-2009, 12:58 PM
 
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we allow them to roam, but discourage running except for play at the park and other places.

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Old 07-01-2009, 01:04 PM
 
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I let my son run between my husband and I in the store, like he would walk with me until we saw Daddy then he would run to him. He was never out of my site, but yeah I didn't put him in the cart. He hates the cart. Now if he wasn't listening or staying near us, then he went into the cart no questions asked.

It made going to the store fun for him, each trip was an adventure. He and I would play peak through shelves and so forth. now at 2.5 he stays with me pretty well, i need to remind him of this at times. But he listens well for the most part.

And the lesson about putting things back. Neil is very good at that. If we go look at things and he picsk something up when I ask him to put it back he is normally very compliant in response.
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Old 07-01-2009, 01:06 PM
 
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DS loved riding in the cart until now at 25 months. Now he will NOT get in now matter what I do. He likes to walk next to me but will run a little bit ahead and smile sometimes. I stay very close and if he gets too far ahead or out of control I hold him and explain he needs to walk next to me holding my hand so kind of a time out for him then he calms down. He wants to hold one of those little baskets and carry whatever I pick out. I guess he just wants to be a big boy...
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Old 07-01-2009, 01:07 PM
 
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My DD won't listen well enough in the store to just follow me. She runs, runs into other people and just creates chaos. She is getting better, but usually she ends up in the cart because of her non-listening. She's almost 3 and at 19 months there is NO way I would have tried to let her follow me. She was even more all over the place, I almost got one of those leash back pack things because she was sooooo fast and would be gone. Her energy level is about a 20 on a scale of 10, so the focus required to follow and do it well aren't quite there. If I have a free hand she is much better, she will now hold hands, which is a marked improvement over last year. I stopped taking her to any public markets or anything like that for the fear of her getting run over because she'd drop my hand and dart.

I guess you are lucky to have a LO that stays by, my DD needs to RUN all. the. time. Some kids are mellow, mine is not.

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Old 07-01-2009, 01:17 PM
 
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I let them walk only if they can stay right by an adult, otherwise they go in the cart. DD2 is 2.5y and well, she is 2 obviously, and acts like it! I rarely take her for long shopping trips anymore, she doesn't want to ride and wants to run all over the place which I don't allow. Many a time I end up leaving her in the car with DH while I go in with another child or two.

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Old 07-01-2009, 01:26 PM
 
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It depends on several factors:

1) What kind of store is involved.
2) What kind of shopping trip is it? (Quick, get what we need and go vs. time to browse.)
3) If it's a big store, where in the store are we?

If it's the proverbial china shop, the no, I won't let him run around.

If it's a toy store, I'm more likely to say yes. Especially if there's an area that we can stay put and watch him as he wanders around.

If we just need to pick up one-five things and then get out of there, we'll usually carry him.

If we have time to browse, then we can go at more of a toddler pace.

If it's a big box store, we'll mix it up. DS can wander in the toy section, he can't wander in the chemical's or tools section. One of us monitors him constantly. Often, I'll let him wander around the front of the store while DH is checking out.

When DS is on his feet at the store, we'll usually use his teddy bear leash. Then it's a combination of letting him lead some, and making him stay with us some.

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Old 07-01-2009, 01:27 PM
 
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I let my kids out within reason. It really is a case by case basis. They run around if there are no people in the area. When people come near I have them stay close or they go in the cart. I figure it is age appropriate to want to burn off some energy. We try to walk a fine line. That being said- I try to get them to stay in the cart as much as possible- makes life so much easier.
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Old 07-01-2009, 01:30 PM
 
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Mine run sometimes. Not with me, but when a large store is fairly empty (common around here these days), or in the mall, my kids definitely run with my DH or FIL. We use it to get their energy out on bad weather days. Of course we use judgment about safety, the proximity of other people, etc. We've been doing it for four years without anyone complaining to us about it, and no adverse events (knock on wood).

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Old 07-01-2009, 01:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by suebee79 View Post
I'm thinking there are two different trains of t hought going on here. Actual RUNNING around willy-nilly and walking near mama. I'm in the walking near mama camp.
I'm with this.
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Old 07-01-2009, 01:37 PM
 
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I sometimes allow my 19 month old daughter to run around in stores when my husband is with us to watch her. If I am alone shopping with her, she doesn't leave the shopping cart.

I'm wondering if any other parents do this. I don't see many others her age running around & sometimes I wonder if we should allow this. Sometimes she does get a little crazy & runs really fast around the store. If my husband & I are there, she seems to expect to be able to do this.

Another concern I have is that, I feel she needs to learn how to follow me around the store & not the other way around. KWIM? How do I teach her this, or is there some point when she will understand this & actually follow me.

I'm thinking sometime when she wants out of the cart with both of us there, that we should use that as the opportunity to show her that she has to stay close, or put her back in the cart. It may take a while for her to learn & there may be tantrums involved, but do you think that is a good plan? Or do you think she's too young to understand that at this point? Tell me what you think!
It really doesn't sound like you are letting her "run around' in the way I imagined reading your title. I was thinking darting out in front of carts, playing dodge ball with produce, being separated by three aisles from you. My daughter is 2.5 and she knows how to wriggle out of the cart. If I put her down she bolts, takes stuff off shelves, puts random food we weren't planning to buy into the bottom of the cart and acts like a toddler. When the store is not busy I will let her down with the caveat that she walk, stay with mommy, etc. Her incentive is usually that she can look at the lobsters while I get meats. She knows that if she can't see me I can't see her, but she gets to the point where she doesn't care. She goes back in the cart. If she screams, stands up etc. we leave. Much more of a punishment for me than her, but I can't deal with it and that's the best solution. If I had an adult helper I'd give more leeway because dh could follow her around and redirect unacceptable behaviors. But if dh and I were both free to take two kids to the grocery store the easiest thing for everyone is for him to just stay home with them!

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Old 07-01-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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I prefer that dd ride in the stroller but at this age she tends to pitch a fit and struggle to get down. So I let her wander around. She isn't running around at top speed like a maniac, tripping people and slamming into displays. She toddles around clutching her baby doll and does her own shopping and if she makes any messes I clean them up before we go.

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Old 07-01-2009, 01:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by erinsmama View Post
I sometimes allow my 19 month old daughter to run around in stores when my husband is with us to watch her. If I am alone shopping with her, she doesn't leave the shopping cart.

I'm wondering if any other parents do this. I don't see many others her age running around & sometimes I wonder if we should allow this. Sometimes she does get a little crazy & runs really fast around the store. If my husband & I are there, she seems to expect to be able to do this.

Another concern I have is that, I feel she needs to learn how to follow me around the store & not the other way around. KWIM? How do I teach her this, or is there some point when she will understand this & actually follow me.

I'm thinking sometime when she wants out of the cart with both of us there, that we should use that as the opportunity to show her that she has to stay close, or put her back in the cart. It may take a while for her to learn & there may be tantrums involved, but do you think that is a good plan? Or do you think she's too young to understand that at this point? Tell me what you think!
Don't let her run in the store if you want to teach her to walk with you and/ or stay with the cart. You are giving her conflicting expectations. Consistency is the key. 19 months isn't too young to get that if she wants out of the cart, she must walk with you. If she can't, she goes back in the cart. And it will take time for her to get this as you now have to untrain her from running in the store first. And running in the store is rude behavior from anyone. Not to mention that it's dangerous, not only to her but to the other customers, employees, and the merchandise.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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Old 07-01-2009, 02:06 PM
 
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I do not let my children run around the store .....Just recently we were out at a store and ds2 was in a stroller and a little girl ran into him...and was running so fast she hit the stroller so hard it tipped over ...thankfully I had a good grip on it at the time and was able to keep him from hitting his head
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