When we are out in public my 3 yo daughter will occasionally sprint down the sidewalk away from me. She thinks this is hilarious and laughs hysterically while she is doing it. SHe has even gone so far as to turn the corner and run up the sidewalk on a different street before I can catch her.
She usually does this when I am holding the baby or otherwise encumbered and am at a disadvantage so she can get a head start. She has never run into the road and we have worked with her a lot about car safety but I am terrified that she could run into the road. When I catch her I sternly tell her that what she is doing is dangerous and is not acceptable but she just laughs.
How do I get her to stop doing this? Has anyone else's children done this and how did you get them to stop? I have a feeling it is just my daughter's way of trying to assert her independence but how do I teach her that she needs to find other ways to do this?
I got a leash. I know there are many mothers on this board that find them awful, but it was the only thing I could do that worked.
yup that. My bolter was my middle kid who walked early and it was that or take away all his independence by keeping him in the stroller, making him hold my hand at all times (so he would have had to have his little arm all up in the air all the time) or never going out.
I always started out a trip/walk/whatever with talking about my expectations. We've always, always let our kids know that 1) if they cannot behave in the house, how could we ever take them anywhere?--we use that alot for table manners, too, and 2) if you do not mind while we are out, you will not go next time. We would go over the rules about staying w/mommy at all times. When we got out of the van, hands go on the van until Mommy says to come w/her to the store. (when it's too hot out for that, then hands go on Mommy's pocket or belt loop. In the store or on the walk, if said child could not behave, they could not be trusted to walk by themselves. That would mean the sling, stroller, or holding my hand at all times. We've always done this at home, too, as far as if they could not behave then they could not be trusted to play out of my sight and would need to remain right with me. (I remember my mom reading about Ma Ingalls having to do this w/Laura in the Little House books. It always struck me as a good way to get a kid to behave, lol. It does, after all, leave the choice up to the child--they can choose to behave or not.
Now, maybe I'm lucky, or maybe it was something I did, but I never ever had a child of mine bolt. I did, however, very recently, have my friends son bolt on me. He is 5, but has an integrated sensory processing disorder and is going thru his 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s all at once. We were in a store doing some Christmas shopping when he did it. I admit to being completely infuriated while he was running and looking back at me and laughing hysterically. Thankfully his mom was also there and took over from there after he smacked right into a clothing rack, disorienting himself just long enough for his mom to catch him.
Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids : dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)
My DD was a bolter, too. I got a leash. She did run into traffic despite how much we talked about it, and her not getting killed was top priority. I felt horrible at first resorting to a leash, but it was temporary, and she actually liked it. It was one of those little monkey backpack things. She loved the backpack part, and she liked having the freedom to explore without holding my hand. Got a few dirty looks, but at least she wasn't getting lost or hit by car.
My first went through a bolting phase at 3 years old too, one time I thought I had lost him forever because I was too pregnant to keep up with his speed. Heartbreaking. I did a combo of setting expectations as Chicky2 explained, and also bought a length of soft rope and tied a hoop on each end -- one to fit his waist and one for mine. I made light of it (didn't use it as punishment or anything) and explained how it would keep us together so when he forgot to stay close. I also went into the stranger danger stuff which left an impression as well. The phase took about 5 or 6 months to tucker out. Now he's 5.5 and sticks with me like glue and it's my 2.5yo who is starting with it. ha :)