Learning to walk freely

michie1September 2, 2002

My daughter is usually in a stroller or shopping wagon when we are out running errands. Occassionally I let her out if she's anxious about being in one of them for so long, but she refuses to hold my hand & thus I end up chasing her all over the place. This past weekend we attempted this on a boardwalk & she was running back & forth bumping into everyone & was always going in the opposit edirection we needed her to go. Is there a good way to help her learn to walk in an appropriate & safe manner? Will one of those child leashes help?

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Hand-holding is not optional with me and DD. From the start, if she wanted out, she had to behave, stay by mommy, and hold hands when I said so, or else back in the cart.

She's only 14-months, according to the other post. It sounds more like she's in charge instead of you.

Outline the parameters of her being allowed out (stay by mommy, don't touch, hold hands). If she breaks a rule, back in the cart. Enforcement is the only way to teach them to not run off.

This is not a trivial matter with all the child abductions going on. TAKE CHARGE.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2002 at 8:47AM
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"Hand-holding is not optional with me and DD."

I don't consider it an option either, but she has to LEARN to do this. She is a very strong willed little girl & thus since she's used to having so much freedom at home & in the yard I was hoping there was a way to show her that this isn't an option when we're out or just when I say so. When we hold her hand & try to guide her she pulls it away or throws her body to the ground, so I was hoping this had happened to someone else so I could hear how to instill this RULE without expecting her to know this on her own.

"She's only 14-months, according to the other post. It sounds more like she's in charge instead of you."

Yes she is 14 mos., but I don't find it very nice that you say "she's in charge of me". Here I am trying to figure out the best way to teach her. I'm by far not a wuss of a parent. I strongly believe in discipline, but I also know that not everyting works for everybody. Since we don't have much occassion to practice this when I am doing errands I was thinking maybe a sort of leash or some other advice might work for me teaching her how to do this appropriately so we never have any accidents or problems to deal with later on.

I totally agree that this is not a trivial matter, but it isn't a matter of TAKING CHARGE. I'm not Hitler. I came from a very strongly disciplined family who didn't allow kids to do anything most parents allow kids to do today. Parents were the law, but I don't think that at 14 mos she can understand the rules just b/c I "outline the parameters". Both my husband & I are very stern about things that are dangerous or just show bratty behavior, but more often than not she laughs or fights back & we really don't know how to change things. I've read up on & asked questions even to a psychologist about discipline at her age & really there is nothing that works well at this age - not time outs, not reasoning & in her case, not witholdin gpriviledges, as with many kids neither does strong stern voice or even yelling....

Anyone have any other suggestions?


    Bookmark   September 4, 2002 at 8:23PM
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At a year of age, most kids still don't grasp all concepts. Most kids don't quite figure out rules and things until more like 2...when they test you a lot! The best thing to do if she won't hold your hand or the cart or stand there is to keep her in the cart, a stroller or carry her for now. Try again in a few months and again, if it won't work, wait and try again. I believe DS really didn't start walking on his own beside us and staying there until 3 or a little before. Even then he liked to run off and stray. He's better now about it at 3 1/2. Just be patient with your daughter. Sounds like you're trying to push her into some things early (not being rude, so don't get mad). Someday you won't believe how fast she grew up so enjoy her now while you can. Good luck.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2002 at 10:47PM
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Hi Leslie,

I'm not mad. And believe me I already see how fast she's growing up (some of it is sad & sometimes it's soooo much fun to watch the changes everyday), but that doesn't mean that I don't want the best for all the changes I'm in store for & want to plan the best I can for them.

I'm actually glad to hear that I'm not the only one who's child isn't perfect in this area. I just don't know how she'll learn if I don't teach her & so far the techniques I've used haven't worked, although I have to say I don't do them too often. I guess you're right & maybe waiting a couple of mos & trying it again she'll better grasp the concept of following my instructions. I hope so.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2002 at 1:06AM
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I think you're feeling the way I did when I had DS...I didn't exactly plan him and I was only 19 when he was born. Up until then, I had seen babies but never really had to deal with them. I had dealt more with toddlers and I thought babies were boring, until I had my own and then I never wanted him to grow up! LOL Anyway, I was amazed at what babies and toddlers learn on their own. Often things that you think you need to actually teach them, the learn by watching others or just have it built into them somewhere. I actually thought you had to literally teach babies to do stuff like sit up and roll over and stuff like that. Maybe that makes me sound dumb but I'm sure there are others out there who just never knew things until they had kids.

I think with the learning to walk along side you, it's not a matter of you teaching her. It's more like she has to be ready to mentally grasp the concept of not being allowed to run off...in her mind she's thinking "Freedom, yes!!!!!"

It's nice to have a place to talk about this stuff, isn't it? Makes you feel your not alone and can find out info on anything you're concerned about. :-) Really, parenthood is nothing but a lot of common sense, trial and error and going with your gut instinct.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2002 at 11:11AM
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What helped me teach my son was to use one of those "leash" things. Oh, the agony, you may as well beat your child if you use one of those (very strong feeling on it, yes, I understand why to or not). He thought it was fun and it helped me show him a safe distance to be away from me. I only had to use it while he learned to stay by my side and that was a couple of months. We went to malls just to practice walking out of the stroller.

Having your child run off is not an option. It kept him safe.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2002 at 10:26AM
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There are many people that would not agree with that idea. I for one, find leashes and the harnesses to be a bad thing. It's like treating your child like they are a dog. With practice and time kids learn not to run off. Like with DS we would let him out of the cart or stroller and told him he had to stay with us or he was going back in. As soon as he started to run or stray...he was back in the cart or stroller. They catch on pretty quickly that you listen of you don't get freedom.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2002 at 10:31AM
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PLEASE DO NOT START A HEATED DISCUSSION OVER MY CHOICE. This is not about me, its about Michie. I didn't treat him like a dog, nor did he feel like a dog, unfair for you to say, since you weren't there.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2002 at 10:56AM
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I think Robin did what she felt was right. I debated over the leash too, although I have one & have not used it.

I know everyone says it takes patience & time but it's not like we're strolling aorund practicing these things. Usually I have things I'm holding or pushing so I don't have the ability to wait out the process which can become dangerous if I test it outdoors.

As with many things I do think that some of these things come with time all on their own. For example, my daughter who is almost 17 mos old now occassionally walks holding my hand & I didn't really do anything different than I had been. It started 2 wks ago when my father & I were walking along the Chelsea Piers. She was in a safe environment where if she ran off she wasn't going to get hurt. Well I even video taped it b/c she was reaching out for his hand & walkign so nicely with my Dad. I have not tried any of this while walking on thr sidewalk yet b/c I'm afraid & b/c we really never go walking like that either. We usualy hop in the car & go to whereever our destination is & if it's a store I always have her in a stroller or shopping wagon so I never really let her practice b/c it's too much trouble for me.

I think learning to do things earlier or better comes with the opportunities you really have to do them. For example, my daughter was climbing stairs before she was walking (she took 1st steps at 10-1/2 mos & started walkign all the time a few days before her 1st bdy). Since she was probably 13 mos old we no longer had to use any gates or watch her. She goes up & down the stairs all by herself. I know many kids aren't allowed that opportunity b/c they don't have stairs at home or b/c the parents are too afraid to let them practice & thus they are 2+ & still need to be watched or held while climbing stairs. It was the best thing she ever learned to do which made things safer for her & less difficult for us.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2002 at 12:05PM
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My sister and her one-year-old daughter, Chloe, live with me. Whenever we take Chloe to the store, we let her walk along behind the shopping cart, "pushing" it. Takes longer, but everyone's happy.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2002 at 12:15AM
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I wasn't starting a HEATED debate...I just said that I feel that's the wrong way to go about it. I'm allowed to have and opinion and am entitled to it. I just put myself in my kids shoes and I know a leash on me as a kid would have made me unbearble to be around. If I would have done that to my son...he would have been pulling and jerking and mad as h#ll at me for doing such a thing. And I'm sure I'm not the one who feels it's not right. Also, I didn't say anyone feeded the kid like a dog or anything like that...but a leash on a kid looks to me like what you do to your dog to get them to walk with you. Yes, you have stuff in your hand and yes, you're busy but what happens when it's not just you and one kid? What about when you have another? So use the shopping cart and put the kid in the seat or take your stroller... that's what we did until DS could be trusted. Being a parent isn't easy and nobody said it would be so why does everyone think their kid will do what they want when they want them to all the time with no hassles? With Michie...see things are fine now and her DD will walk with them. It was just too early for her when they first started.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2002 at 10:34AM
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Good idea joann23456

Glad for you Michie

And nadastimer,
Way to twist what I said and be sure to overlook that I said he had fun. My son doesn't get mad as he-- because he is treated well, not stuffed in some stroller and distrusted. Again, 1) you weren't there, nor you didn't see it, 2) it wasn't your choice to make and 3) that's not what this is about. Make your own choices, not everyone elses. Yes, you're entitled to express your opinion, but not tell me how to live.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2002 at 12:27PM
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