19 answers

How to Stop My 2 Year Old from Running Away?

Anyone have any ideas on how to keep my 2 1/2 year old from running away from me when she doesn't get what she wants? We use the stroller and keep her strapped in but there are places that we can't use the stroller and if we start to walk a way she doesn't want to go- she runs away from me and then I'm forced to chase after her and catch her. She's too heavy to be carried all the time (over 35lbs). She's making me crazy and I have no clue how to stop this behavior.

3 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you to everyone who responded. It is my personal belief that leashes are for dogs not children but I appreciate that suggestion as well as all the others. I decided to try the stop/go method. We've been playing stop/go forever- my daughter loves that game. So I tried it in Target the other day and it worked so well! She was so engrossed in playing the "game" she didn't pay attention to anything else. So yesterday when we went trick or treating her dad and I tried it and it made things so much easier. She was happier, she listened to us, and there was no fighting with her. And as far as the grocery store goes and her pushing the cart- she got a little plastic shopping cart last Christmas and we take that shopping with us. She loves to "shop" herself and I didn't want her pushing the cart and getting hurt and even the kiddie carts they have at the market are too big for her. This way works out great because it fits in the trunk, she's helping me; and when she gets tired of pushing her cart it's small enough to stow away under my cart while we finish shopping.

Featured Answers

I have the same problem with my son and what has been working for me is the sort of reverse psychology theory, when he starts to run away from me I just say Mommy's leaving now, bye-bye and I walk the other way and he usually comes running after me. I also tell him that if he runs away from me that we will leave (the playground, the library, etc.) and that sometimes works too.
Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Punish the bad behavior by leaving immidately, but don't forget to praise the good too. A reward is not a horrible idea, but remember that some kids then start to think that just because they are listening they get a new toy. It is hard, but try to work toward getting her to behave because SHE WANTS to. The leaving right away thing is difficult too, but I left an entire grocery cart with a very nice store worker once and explained that my daughter could not behave herself so we had to leave. I think my daughter was embarassed that she had behaved so poorly(she was about 2 1/2) that she never did it again. More than anything else be consistant in the approach you choose.

1 mom found this helpful

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I have the same problem with my son and what has been working for me is the sort of reverse psychology theory, when he starts to run away from me I just say Mommy's leaving now, bye-bye and I walk the other way and he usually comes running after me. I also tell him that if he runs away from me that we will leave (the playground, the library, etc.) and that sometimes works too.
Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful

My friend does this to her child too, and I just watch and shake my head. Why WOULDN'T your child keep doing this, when you chase after her each time? Kids LOVE to be chased, and those kids that you see running through the stores with their parents not far behind chasing and screaming after them are completely in a role reversal crisis. Let's not ever forget who's in control in a parent/child relationship. My friend's child COMPLETELY controls her, and she just turned 3!!! My kids would NEVER run away from me, but if they ever did, I would stop in my tracks, and stare at them with "the look". If they kept running, I would say "okay, Aryana (my daughter)! I'm going to keep shopping! We'll see you later!" Now the first time you do this, chances are your child will not fall for it for awhile. But, make sure that the first time you attempt this, you go to a store that is specifically for the purpose of putting an end to the behavior. Go to a Walgreens, talk to the cashier at the front of the store, tell them what you're going to do and say "If you see her coming this way, please call me over the speaker" I'm not kidding, it's down right dangerous for you to allow this behavior to continue. What if you were chasing after her, slipped and fell while she continued to run, and someone grabs her and takes off with her while you're down? It's not just a nuisance, you're putting both of you in danger every time you allow it! So, back to the intervention part. A better idea would be to go into a small store like a Walgreens, bring your husband or mother or someone with you to stand at the door to leave. Let your child down and if she starts running away, saying "Bye, Aryana, mommy's here to shop not chase you" and literally walk the other way. Children freak out when they see they're mommy's not close to them, and your child will eventually stop the running. Let her run for as long as it takes the first few times she runs away because you have her trained right now to think "If I run, mom will chase me". So, she's going to run for quite a while, waiting for you to chase her. Once she realizes you really may not be coming after her, she will come back. Then the next time, she'll run a little less far before she comes back. Then, even less far before she realizes it. Eventually, she'll give up on it and WANT to stay with you. I would imagine you refer to her as a "strong willed child"? That's what my friend does, and I always say "no, she's a child who's allowed to be strong willed"

2 moms found this helpful

try ignoring her, but still keep an eye on her....personally i think the doggie leashes for kids are horrible. good luck

1 mom found this helpful

If my kids run away from me, I refuse to chase them. I use the 1,2,3 method of discipline, and if I get to 3 (which I rarely do), first time they get a time out (I do timeouts EVERYWHERE-no location prevents you from giving a timeout). If they do it again we leave whatever we are doing. After a couple of times of leaving a fun place, they get it. I also cite the rules everytime we go somewhere. The first rule is to ALWAYS be able to see me, and that means I can see them. I tell them that if someeone sees them w/out a mommy, they may take them home with them. This has worked for me because my kids don't run too far from me at all. And when they lose sight of me, they start yelling for me right away (sometimes in stores I hide behind a rack to get their attention).

1 mom found this helpful

I saw someone else post that you should let her help you push the cart. Please don't do this, that is extremely dangerous. My son was that age and he was with daddy and ran over to the cart. Right before the cart, he fell down. Most carts have metal spokes on the bottom, and he hit the metal spoke and had to have 3 stiches put in. The hospital was not suprised at all that he needed stiches from falling and hitting the cart spokes. They we suprised that he wasn't pushing the cart at the time though. They told me a lot of parents have their kids help them push the cart, and then the little one trips or falls and they either gash their head open on the metal, or they get their fingers cut off because a parent accidentally runs over them with the cart because it all happens so fast. So, I am not trying to put the person down you mentioned this, I am just trying to share our experience so some other parents don't have to go through what we did.

I had this issue with our older son, and now with our youngest. I learned that I just always hold their hands. My youngest one will try to fall to the ground to get me to let go of his hand, and I just hold it firm and bend down with him (I don't want to pull his arm out of socket). I remain firm and tell him "Alex, you walk" and remain holding his hand the whole time. They will try to resist, but you just need to remain firm, and have patience. It will pass, eventually.

1 mom found this helpful

Bleh - leashes are for animals who cannot be taught to control their impulses. Please don't go that route! It's extremely important that your child be taught how to control her impulses! Actually take the time to practice listening skills with your child so she understands her responsibility. You can try a 3 strikes rule (or even 1 or 2 strikes) where once she 'breaks free' of you a certain number of times that's it - you load up the car and go home. Have solid consequences for not listening to you and (most importantly) follow through. Have the stranger-danger conversation. Make it into a game like others have suggested (stop/go, freeze, etc.).

Take her to the mall and try it out, with the promise of going to the 'playland' at the end of the trip. You can tell her that if she wants to get playland time, she has to stay with you and hold your hand for the trip. If she does not listen to you and runs amok, then no playland for her.

1 mom found this helpful

Punish the bad behavior by leaving immidately, but don't forget to praise the good too. A reward is not a horrible idea, but remember that some kids then start to think that just because they are listening they get a new toy. It is hard, but try to work toward getting her to behave because SHE WANTS to. The leaving right away thing is difficult too, but I left an entire grocery cart with a very nice store worker once and explained that my daughter could not behave herself so we had to leave. I think my daughter was embarassed that she had behaved so poorly(she was about 2 1/2) that she never did it again. More than anything else be consistant in the approach you choose.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,
G. here when my son was 2 he would do the same when he didn't get his way. Or he would just plain out throw himself on the floor and throw a fit. The running was easy to solve. I let him go I kept him in eye site but I didn't chase him and I told him I am leaving see ya later and acted like I was going to the door. In a matter of seconds he was screaming mommy don't leave me and didn't run away from me anymore. Thats when the fits came in. I was at the grocery one day and he wanted a toy I told him I didn't have the money. He threw himself on the floor and started screaming. Everyone was looking at us so I did the same. I got up like nothing ever happened and kept shopping he walked with me without saying a word. When I got to the checkout line one of the people who seen me throw my fit said that they wouldn't bring there kid to the store because he acts up like mine did but now they know how to stop it. Don't know if this will work for you but maybe you can try it. Don't really leave your child just make her think that you will. Have a great day G.

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