Running wild in parking lots

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by JuliaS82, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. JuliaS82

    JuliaS82 Active Member

    Ok, I need some advice here.

    My twins have suddenly decided that its OK to run away from me before and after school (daycare) in the parking lot.

    They've been going there since they were infants and when they started walking into school I used little arm straps to keep them from wandering away and to teach them to walk next to me. They have never liked hand-holding and it wasn't much of an option anyway because usually my hands were already full with supplies. They never had a problem with this set up, and walked happily into school each day.

    We stopped using straps around 20 months, and they've been fine. Always just walking with me (sometimes running) a bee line either to the car or to the front door of daycare. Now all of a sudden we step out of the car, or out of the school and they just start running in circles around the parking lot, paying no mind to cars that are leaving or arriving. I yell at them to come back over to me and they just laugh and keep on running. I usually have to pick up one/both or drag them to the car if my hands are full. They think this is just another game and laugh the whole way.

    I know they're still a bit young to fully understand the dangers of how a car can hit and seriously injure. I have tried using punishments like no books or videos in the car after the incident (entertainment during the drive home). We have had several conversations on what the rules are, and they answer my questions correctly on how they are supposed to behave. But the next day their little minds get wiped clean and off they go.

    I think this is more my son than my daughter. My daughter will walk next to me when I tell her to, but if son starts running away she will follow.

    This morning I put their little arm straps on them going into school. Daughter thought it was cool, like the walking rings they use at school. Son threw a fit when I put his on. He ripped it off and took off running, then cried the whole way inside because I made him hold my hand.

    I wanted to just use the straps again for a while to "re-train" them, but they're clearly too old now and know how to remove the straps. So, how do you teach them to walk next to you??
  2. cheezewhiz24

    cheezewhiz24 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    What I did: use the stroller until I had Annabelle when they were 2.5. Then I put her in one spot and 1 boy got to walk with me holding onto the stroller handle. Gradually we started having both hang onto the stroller or if I don't use it, a train where I hold a hand and the boy holding my hand holds his brothers.

    What I would suggest for you is to make 2 trips whenever possible and tell them ahead of time "You WILL hold my hand". Do that for a month to get compliance and gradually work them into standing next to you without holding hands. Then bring the stuff along with the kids.
    1 person likes this.
  3. lharrison1

    lharrison1 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Oh man, running kids in a parking lot is the scariest, I'm sorry you had to go through that!! I still make my kids hold hands in parking lots and near busy streets. They dont like it but if they try to wiggle out of my hand then I put a dang death grip on their little arms and they can scream and cry all they want I just tell them this is how it is, no negotiating what so ever. :catfight:
  4. w101ttd

    w101ttd Well-Known Member

    We go out a lot: schools (2 preschools), ymca, sooner games, parks, restaurants,... Everyday. And we always hold their hands and they walk with us. We have deadly strict rules for walking in parking lots. I always tell them if they run and don't look out for cars. Cars might run them over and they will have big booboos. And we have to go to hospital see doctors. If they break the rules, big punishments will come when we get home. They will have to lay down on the floor face down for 30 mins period. I never let them off the hook once. My kids do pretty well. But once for awhile, they take off so far..but stop when see car coming. I would never trust 3 yr olds walk next to me in the parking lots without hold their hands despite how well they do.

    About carrying all the stuffs, I would just get a huge backbag, put everything in and carry on your back so u have 2 free hands to hold them tight.

    Also, I would teach them how to watch out for coming cars, and stay on sidewalks. Gl!
  5. mummy2two

    mummy2two Well-Known Member

    Like the PP's have said parking lots are a big deal for me. I insist that we always hold hands. My kids now remind DH of the "parking lot rules." This includes touching the car until I have free hands; holding hands until we get to the sidewalk; no pulling, running, skipping or fooling around; and paying attention.

    My advice? I'd leave everything else in the car, hold hands, take them inside, and then make a second trip back to the car to get every thing else. I'd also make it clear that the reason they must hold hands now is because they have not been following the rules in the parking lot.

  6. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    My boys are very bad for this, and even still will take off from me in the daycare parking lot occasionally. So what I do is (after I am done freaking out yelling) make them start all over again. We go right back to the van or to the daycare and they have to do it properly. It takes FOREVER, but they have to do it until they hold my hand, stop to look for cars, and calmly walk across the road. I've never had to do it more than a second time because they usually just want to get on with their day.
    1 person likes this.
  7. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    This. Holding hands in parking lots is not an option. If you have stuff to bring in, do it in a second trip. But I forced them to hold hands, or I'd hold wrists, and if they did run away, it was immediate serious punishment--whatever was their currency at the time.
  8. cheezewhiz24

    cheezewhiz24 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Oh I should add that occasionally my one son wants to drop my hand at which point I will squeeze his hand or wrist like a boa constrictor. It's never my first choice but holds hands in a parking lot is absolutely not a choice.

    Oh I should add that occasionally my one son wants to drop my hand at which point I will squeeze his hand or wrist like a boa constrictor. It's never my first choice but holds hands in a parking lot is absolutely not a choice.
  9. mama_dragon

    mama_dragon Well-Known Member

    I leave everything in the car if we have to cross the parking lot and make another trip. Even now when they are walking beside me instead of holding my hand I like to have hands free just incase they suddenly do something completely unexpected. When they were small it was not an option. They had to hold hands. I would take their arm if they did not with a death grip.

    Another thing I have done in the past was to pack their backpacks with supplies. I put on their backpacks as they get out of the car and they carry in supplies. They also tend not to run with something on their back.

    I started teaching car safety when they were infants in the stroller. I sang the little ditty about "stop, look and listen before you use your feet. Use your eyes, use your ears and then you use your feet" over and over and over and still use it to review. They are now very good in the parking lot and with crossing streets HOWEVER we still review constantly. I tell them stop and wait at corners. When I get them out of the car I remind them to stay with me. I get the other out and I say again stay with me/hold my hand this parking lot is busy and we don't want to get squished (they think this is funny and don't want to get squished by a car)/stay right by me cars cannot see you when you are small. I say it all the time. Over and over. You just cannot tell them enough. When they were small I used words like the car will mash you up like applesauce and then we will have to scrape you off the pavement and put you in an ambulance. And sometimes they can't put you back together at the hospital. I would get big eyed serious looks and lots of retelling between them. And they would say we have to hold mommy's had so we don't get mashed/squished very gravely. Even now they will remind each other to watch for cars.
    1 person likes this.
  10. Fran27

    Fran27 Well-Known Member

    Even now at 5, they have to hold hands, or we're just not going anywhere.
  11. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Exactly. My kids know that holding hands in a parking lot, crossing the street is non-negotiable. I don't care how upset they get, this is how it is. I would definitely do the straps again and tell the kids once you can show mommy that you can be safe in a parking lot/crossing the street/etc. by holding my hands and not running around, we won't need the strap anymore.
  12. JuliaS82

    JuliaS82 Active Member

    Thank you everyone for your advice. Yesterday afternoon I explained that we were going to hold hands from now on, then put a death grip on them once we got outside. They threw a fit, naturally.. I was half dragging them along as they cried. While my son was upset at the hand-holding, daughter was upset at her loss of independence. She just kept saying "Catie walk, Catie walk".

    This morning was better, but they're usually better behaved in the morning. Daughter wanted her "ring" (strap) instead of holding hands but I didn't want to give her an excuse to let go of my hand, so I didn't give in. Son complied as soon as my grip tightened on his hand. I had a lot of bags of diapers/wipes, but just rested them on my arms. I think its easier to do that now because they're taller. The bags don't slide down on top of them anymore :)

    So, all in all... progress! Hopefully this afternoon isn't terrible.

    Thanks again everyone :)
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  13. mama_dragon

    mama_dragon Well-Known Member

    I forgot about this one. I used to do it with my nephews and kids I babysat. I would tell them that I really needed help crossing the street/parking lot. Could they help me cross by holding my hand I don't want to get run over. Then I would have them "look" for cars for me and tell me when it was safe to cross and then remind them to make sure they hold on to me so I don't get run over.

    It doesn't work with my two but it has worked on a lot of kids I've taken care of.
  14. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    Still works on Jack at 5. Particularly when he wants to hold daddy's hand but needs to hold mine.
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