Toddlers are naturally curious, and eager to explore their surroundings when they first learn to walk. But there are times for exploring and times when they need to stay by your side. In today’s video, we’ll talk about how to teach your little one the importance of sticking close to you while you walk, how to properly correct their behavior when they run off, and the effectiveness of the (mildly) controversial “toddler leash.”Rather read than watch? Click here.
And that can be dangerous if you are on the street, for example, you certainly don’t want your child running away and into traffic.
And so what a lot of people tend to do is put their toddlers into what I call a ‘toddler leash’, its a cute little backpack, but it’s essentially a leash.
Here is where I have some problems with that.
My big philosophy on parenting is always to allow children to make good choices. That’s the cornerstone of everything that I teach, is that we need to allow children to decide between good choices and bad ones.
If we automatically assume that our child can’t behave and put them in a leash, we are really giving them no choice are we? We are just assuming that they’re going to make a bad decision and therefore we are consequencing something we might not even need to consequence.
Yes I get it and there does require some teaching on your part to get your child to stay with you. Some toddlers do not like to have their hand held and that can be an excellent consequence. Listen, you walk nicely beside mummy or we have to hold hands.
If your child does not respond to that, then guess what, you’re holding hands whether he likes it or not.
Other kids prefer to walk rather than ride in a stroller. The stroller then becomes the consequence. You walk nicely beside mummy or you going in the stroller. If he chooses not to walk nicely beside you, then guess what, he’s going in the stroller whether he likes it or not.
I do believe that you should give one warning because the toddler needs time to learn what the rules are especially if you’ve not given them that opportunity before and this is brand new for them, that if he starts running a few steps ahead, you would say, “listen, that’s one warning, if you do that again, we are holding hands or you are riding in the stroller.”
Now, if you don’t have the stroller and he doesn’t mind holding hands, then I guess you could use a leash. There’s something about it that rubs me a little bit the wrong way for some reason. I’m not a huge fan of that as a consequence, but certainly if you are in a place where a stroller is not available, then you could go for that. You walk nicely beside me or this is what’s happening. This is going on.
Obviously, if the child starts running into the road, for example, they don’t get a warning around that. That is dangerous and they are going straight to consequence. You ran into the road, you are riding in your stroller. And this means you need to keep a close eye.
Until your child gets good at understanding what the rules and the consequences are, you’re going to really need to keep close eye.
Obviously, you certainly do not want to put your child in danger, but the good news is, kids learn. We forget that sometimes, that they absolutely have the ability to learn and the more they learn, the better they’re going to get at this and you’ll get to a place where you just have to give one warning and he’s going to be walking right beside you and cooperating because he knows that if he doesn’t, there’s going to be a consequence that he doesn’t like.
It’s that simple. You just have to really be consistent and reinforce it and then it gets easier and easier.
Thanks so much for watching today.
Young kids are in a perpetual state of experience and discovery, which is great! Most of the time. However, that typically includes the occasional experiment with disobedience and undesirable behavior. For some great advice on the best way to dissuade these, check out Kids: The Manual. It’s a comprehensive, easy-to-follow guide to preventing problem behaviors in children aged 2 – 12. Guaranteed!
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