how to teach them not to run away from you in public...? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 09-26-2010, 10:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is nearly 23 months old, very very very active, and very verbally advanced for his age. He has never liked being in a shopping cart and in the past 2 months has grown increasingly resistant to being in any of our carriers or even just our arms for longer than 25 seconds when we go anywhere. This is fine... I love wearing him or carrying him so Im bummed, but I know this is normal and he's trying to be independent.

But how do I get him to not run away from us the minute his feet hit the ground? Currently, we explain this to him in the car a few times before we get out: "W___, when we get in the store, please walk right next to my legs. If you run away, I will pick you up and carry you." He fully understands this. But, of course, he's gone the minute I put him down. He looks back at me when he's about 3 feet away or so, and I'll say, 'Uh oh! Right next to Mimi's legs please!", but he'll laugh and run off.

Holding his hand has always been a total disaster, also. He has *never* allowed us to hold his hand without screaming at the top of his lungs. We do it out of necessity now in parking lots, but seriously.... he just *screams* ---- always has since he started walking at 10 months. It frustrates him terribly for whatever reason, so we do it as little as possible. No shopping ever, ever gets done, he ends up in tears within minutes because Ive picked him up, theres never anything to eat in the house, and its very frustrating. I always explain that 'Im sorry, but I asked you to stay right next to my legs and you ran away so I picked you up." ANd then lots of hugs and kisses.

I know he's only 23 months; am I expecting too much? Is there anything I can be doing to help him understand that he cant just run away like that in public places? Will it come with time? Help! I feel completely trapped in my house!
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#2 of 12 Old 09-27-2010, 12:43 AM
 
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It will come with time. But right now he doesn't have the impulse control.

Several suggestions: Get one of those child backpacks with a leash on the end so he's connected to you without having to hold your hand. For kids who like to run and don't like to hold hands, they're a nice thing.

Take him for a long run/play at the park before you go shopping.

Divide and conquer. Have one of you stay at home with him, and have the other (whoever's more stir crazy) go shopping.

When you have to shop with him, master the 10 minute shopping trip. Make your list ahead of time. Get him lots of exercise first. When you get there, know exactly what you want and where to get it. Use a shopping cart and put him in the child seat. Do not let his feet touch the ground of the store. Bring a snack for him to work on while you shop. Then shop as fast as you can so the store will only hear 8 minutes of screaming, and remind yourself that you're not the first mom of a toddler who's needed to shop.

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#3 of 12 Old 09-27-2010, 02:01 AM
 
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I have no idea how to stop them from running away as my only kiddo is 19 months and I'm far from figuring it out. All I can say is that the grocery store is the one place she's never gotten out of the cart. She's gotten used to it until the end of the trip when she is trying to climb out now. Maybe you could start to reintroduce this idea of the cart at this one location only?
And I'll admit it- I distract her with treat-like snacks for every trip- and I save the best until we're almost done.

But I think we've all thrown in the towel on days when the shopping is just not going to happen.

Good luck- parenting can be sooo frustrating sometimes!
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#4 of 12 Old 09-27-2010, 09:32 AM
 
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Some great advice above. I would avoid taking him shopping if you can help it.

When you do have to take him, tell him before that if he runs he'll have to sit in the cart. Go over and over the scenario--stay close to mommy or sit in the cart. Give it one last runthrough at the door of the store. When you go in, if he strays (a few steps to look at something) give a gentle reminder. If he runs, no reminder, pick him up and put him in the cart. Remind him when he's in there, then end the shopping trip as soon as you can but don't let him out until you're back at the car.

We've had to do something similar with crossing the street with my 2yo. She doesn't like to hold hands, but if we're crossing the street it's hold hands or be carried--it's a safety issue and non-negotiable IMO. You can do it gently but they do have to learn that if they want that freedom, they have to earn it by being trustworthy.
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#5 of 12 Old 09-27-2010, 10:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
It will come with time. But right now he doesn't have the impulse control.

Several suggestions: Get one of those child backpacks with a leash on the end so he's connected to you without having to hold your hand. For kids who like to run and don't like to hold hands, they're a nice thing.

Take him for a long run/play at the park before you go shopping.

Divide and conquer. Have one of you stay at home with him, and have the other (whoever's more stir crazy) go shopping.

When you have to shop with him, master the 10 minute shopping trip. Make your list ahead of time. Get him lots of exercise first. When you get there, know exactly what you want and where to get it. Use a shopping cart and put him in the child seat. Do not let his feet touch the ground of the store. Bring a snack for him to work on while you shop. Then shop as fast as you can so the store will only hear 8 minutes of screaming, and remind yourself that you're not the first mom of a toddler who's needed to shop.
I came to type the same thing.

23 months is so young to understand that they MUST stay next to you. We're still not 100% with that, even though my kids are 5 and almost-4.

When it was me & ds 1:1, I was able to hold his hand if he couldn't ride in the cart (and I was Queen of The Fast Trip, as above, complete with organic sucker for him to enjoy while I ran through Target!). Then, when my dd was little and I had two kids under two, my dd had a monkey backpack leash which was on her -- my ds held the leash part (he thought he was So Cool), and I held his hand. We caravanned through Home Depot, for example, all walking like this.

These days, we practice. The kids are allowed to walk _next to_ me ((big privilege)) instead of riding, for example, but if they sprint even once, they have to come and hold my hand for the rest of the trip in the store/whatever. They don't have total impulse control yet, but we're getting there.

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#6 of 12 Old 09-27-2010, 10:32 AM
 
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Just keep being consistent with the consequences, like it sounds like you are. Also, a special treat food if he sits in the cart.

Mom to 5 wonderful kids (9, 6, 4, 2 and 0), 1 adopted through foster care.

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#7 of 12 Old 09-27-2010, 11:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by hopefulfaith View Post
I came to type the same thing. ...

...These days, we practice. The kids are allowed to walk _next to_ me ((big privilege)) instead of riding, for example, but if they sprint even once, they have to come and hold my hand for the rest of the trip in the store/whatever. They don't have total impulse control yet, but we're getting there.
Me, too! Great minds think alike!

We also are still practicing and I still hold DS' hand if he gets too far from me. When he was smaller, we had the dog backpack and he still loves it to this day. (Now he uses the leash as a rope to lasso his doggie... ) It was very helpful and the one we used had a tiny pocket on it so I put snackies in there for him and pinned my cell number in it just in case...

I also agree with just sticking him in the cart and getting your shopping done. A friend of mine would buy a pack of animal crackers at the beginning of her shopping trip and let her son snack on them throughout the store; it distracted him from screaming.

If you really can't get through the shopping, stores will often deliver for a small fee ($10 or so). I know here there is a Peapod service that does that; they often give you coupons that recoup the cost of delivery according to another friend.
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#8 of 12 Old 09-27-2010, 02:37 PM
 
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My 23-month-old is exactly like that. It helps that her older sister (3) can be reasoned with. I explain to them both that we can only go if they both ride in the cart. Then we buy the essentials in a hurry. Snacks in the cart sounds like a great idea. I'll have to try that too.

When my oldest was that age, I had an infant too, so that was crazy. I would have the baby in a sling, older DD in the cart, and I just shopped as quickly as possible, tickling and playing to distract them as we shopped.

The best solution for our family is for one of the parents to go shopping after bedtime in the evening.
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#9 of 12 Old 09-27-2010, 08:12 PM
 
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We loved the "monkey backpack" aka harness, at that age. I gave my little one's a choice of either sitting in the cart/stroller or walking with the backpack, walking without it just wasn't a option. And, while they had the backpack on we talked about not running off, and we also played "red light green light", "simon says" type games.

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#10 of 12 Old 09-29-2010, 09:23 PM
 
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DS is 2.5 yrs. What's been working for us lately: I tell him in the car, "We're going into a store. You must stay close to mama." Enter store. Stop at door. I repeat it.

When I see him even thinking about running off, or immediately after his attempt, I get down to his eye level & put my hands on his shoulders & point to a passerby: "Do you know her?" Wait for answer. He (usually) says, "No." I point to someone else. "How about him. Do you know him?" Lather rinse repeat for about two more people. Then I say, "There are lots of people in the store who we do not know. They don't take care of you like mama does. That's why you have to stay close to mama while we're in stores."

It's a whole rigmarole, but my aim is to get him to think. It works 50% of the time. I'll take it.

If he fails too many times, it's in the cart or on my hip he goes (while carrying the 1 year old on my back.)
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#11 of 12 Old 10-14-2010, 04:59 PM
 
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DD absolutely MUST hyold my hand at all times when we are near a street or in a parking lot. No exceptions. If she does not or won't walk properly i will carry her. She knows this now so if she starts acting up etc I just say "shall I pick you up?" and she walks nicely.

I have heard a lot of people say it is uncomfortable for them to walk holding hands but it doesn't seem so for us.

At first I would just give her the choice: be carried or hold hands. IMO she (DD) is too young to have impulse control -- what if there was a really neat animal on the other side of the street etc?

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#12 of 12 Old 10-14-2010, 07:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by redvlagrl View Post
DD absolutely MUST hyold my hand at all times when we are near a street or in a parking lot. No exceptions. If she does not or won't walk properly i will carry her. She knows this now so if she starts acting up etc I just say "shall I pick you up?" and she walks nicely.

I have heard a lot of people say it is uncomfortable for them to walk holding hands but it doesn't seem so for us.

At first I would just give her the choice: be carried or hold hands. IMO she (DD) is too young to have impulse control -- what if there was a really neat animal on the other side of the street etc?


My 2.5 year old (who was just diagnosed PDD-NOS and SPD so things are often harder for him) MUST hold hands or be carried when on a sidewalk or in a parking lot. In a store we'll do the "stay close" thing, but in each case we don't make a big deal out of it...it is what it is. He tries to wrench his hand away in a parking lot? No big deal, he gets carried. He takes off in a store? No big deal, he sits in the cart. There are days where this is understood from the beginning of the trip (most days now actually) and there are days where he gets picked up 2 or 3 times before he gets it (though that almost never happens these days). Sure when he's just learning he might scream in the cart or when you pick him up, but he CAN NOT run into the road or into another isle, he simply cannot, so act like it's no big deal and calmly tell him that if he'd like to get down he can do so if he stays close or holds hands. It WILL work even if it feels rough sometimes.

This is also what worked with my 5 and 6 year old when they were his age, one of whom has ADHD, and the other of whom has no special challenges. Even now when we walk to the park they must both hold hands with an adult when we cross the street, and they will stop dead at the corner and wait if we're not going as fast as them. Now that they're older they understand the reasoning behind such things, but it's also just years of understanding that if they go into the road alone, then they hold hands so I can keep them safe. If it had ever happened regularly, then I would have told them I don't feel safe walking to the park with them anymore, and explained why. It is up to them to be safe, and if they can't, then they can't go. No big deal.
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