Three year old ran away at the mall!!!

DeLores - posted on 03/09/2010 ( 16 moms have responded )

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My three year old SD ran away from us at the mall yesterday. I finally found her at Victoria secret... she had snuck into some poor ladies dressing room... apparently this is an ongoing problem... BF wants to have a friend of his steal her from the store next time... any better suggestions?

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Maggie - posted on 03/10/2010

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she's three. She is old enough to understand that she needs to stay with you! Sit her down and explain to her what you expect when you go out. When you get to the mall (or anywhere else) remind her of the rules. Putting the child on a leash or in a stroller doesn't teach her how to be responsible. Contrary to popular belief kids that age are capable of using self control.

For example, we have library rules: 1. Stay with me 2. be quiet because people are reading
we have shopping rules: 1. stay with me 2. ask before you touch
we have restaurant rules 1. sit on your butt 2. use an indoor voice
It's easier if you keep the rules simple and only have two or three. When you get where you're going look her in the eye and have her tell you the rules. If she can't remember then remind her but have her repeat it back to you.

If my son runs off in the store then he has to hold my hand or the cart for a specified amount of time before he can walk by himself again. If he follows the rules the whole time (we make our trips short so he doesn't get to the end of his rope) then he gets a reward. Sometimes it's as simple as a sticker but you could do a special snack, a trip to the toy store (you don't have to buy anything!) or a look in the pet store (our mall has one).

PS. the risk of being kidnapped isn't as high as the media will have you believe. She was probably perfectly safe for the few minutes it took for you to find her. Do you really want your SD to be scared and traumatized by being fake kidnapped? SHE WON'T KNOW IT'S FAKE!

Tasha - posted on 03/13/2010

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Shannen---
I am not using the "easy" way out by putting my toddler on a leash. I am keeping her safe the best way that I know how!!! A 3 year old is just a BABY!!! You can tell them until you are blue in the face that bad people are going to take them if they run away, but they dont know what that means!!! I am sad that people like you tell people like me that I am treating my child like an animal. :( I see very many pros in using a toddler harness. 1) I will never be the frantic mom running around the mall/store because I will ALWAYS know where my daughter is at ANY given time. 2) She will have the freedom to be a BIG girl and walk with mommy, and get herself some exercise in the process. 3) It teaches her boundries. I would rather have people like you snickering behind my back, then to be chasing my toddler down the isle, or searching for them in a crowded shopping center. $10.00 is worth the peace of mind that I get from knowing that my daughter is going to be safe as possible while exploring her world, instead of being kidnapped, or in a hospital. Also, I know that there will be times when I will need BOTH hands, and I will not be able to hold her hand every second. Children are curious, it is their nature. They will wander away from time to time. There will come a time where she will not need it anymore, but until then, I plan on doing EVERYTHING that I can to make sure she is SAFE!!!

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Tasha

like i said i wasn't tryng to offend anyone but that is MY opinion of them. Yes a 3yr old is a baby And i have a 3 Yr old So yes i do know this. But i'm sorry My 3yr old knows and understands that if she talks to people she doesnt know then they might take her away. I have to ask, You say 3yrolds just don't understand or comprehend that much well do you have a 3yr old? And if you don't its not your place to say how much they do understasnd and yes i do know each and evry child is different.

I did not tell you that you were treating your child like an animal but i put my dogs on a leash Not my children.

I am not a "frantic" Mum i don't run around the store after my child ( i had to stop her ONCE when she was about 1yr and now she knows and i have use of BOTH my hands at all times.) I always know where she is when we are out shopping. I'm sorry but your daughter does nto have "freedom" if you have to have her on a "leash" My daughter was taught boundaries by me not by some sort of physical restriction. And she knew them by the time she was 2 and my 19 month old son doesnt even run away from Me when i shop as he knows the same boundaries.

I don't snicker behind parents backs when they use them i feel very sorry that the parent feels they have no control over their child and has to use one and i also feel very very sorry for the child.

I know my child is safe as i have to be her eyes and ears while she is young when we are out and about but part of that is teaching her to do some of those things by herself. I i will teach her the best i can so that as she gets older i will be more at ease when she wants to do more and more by herself.

[deleted account]

I'm sorry to offend anyone but i think those "leash's" are horrible and fairly demeaning. I have a 3yr old who knows the rules which are she has to stay with me. and i have a 1yr old sonw ho walks everywhere, by his own choosing, yes they have both tried to run away but only to get me to chase them and when they did it i took them by the hand and didnt let go until we had finished doing what we had to in that shop. then when we got to the car they got a stern tlking to about how someone could take them if they run away and they wouldnt see mummy again. I prob shouldnt use scare tactics but it worked. Also my 3yr old knows that if she gets lost that police will help. It might make it harder for us while shopping but its better then treating your child like an animal and putting them on a leash! just so its easy. Raising children rnt easy.

Sarah - posted on 03/12/2010

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Make her ride in the cart, i do with my 3yr old, i just don't think she's ready for walking around beside me or in front of me.. Anything can happen in a blink of a eye, you can never be too safe.If your daughter is strong willed like mine, and is always on the go and can never stay still then a child leash would be the answer or the shopping cart at least you'll know where she is at all times..

Rachel - posted on 03/12/2010

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We have very firm rules with my son who is 3. He has been told, if he runs away, he has to go out to the van and sit there while I shop....my husband stays with him. If it is just me..we leave. I know it is frustrating for you too, but I've only had to do it twice, now my son KNOWS I mean business and will stop right away. We now remind him every time before we go into the store...what happens if you run away? He answers..I have to go back to the van. He doesn't like that cause then he gets strapped in his car seat and can't touch or see stuff. He loves shopping. I agree with using the leash if you can. My son knows how to remove them, so they are a no go for me. Now it's just follow-through. Make an ultimatum, and stick to it. If you run away ________ will happen. When they run...do it! I can stop my son in his tracks just by saying, what happens when you run? And he stops and looks at me, and says...ok momma..I wait for you! I then praise him, tell him how proud I am of him...re-inforce the good behavior too! It works for us! Good luck though...I know how I felt when my son ran from me and hid in some nook, and luckily someone saw where he went. I was FURIOUS and TERRIFIED! Hopefully you find a solution you can all agree on! :)

Beneda - posted on 03/12/2010

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i have a very wild 4yr old and i went out when he was about 2 and bought a body harness thats in the shape a teddy bear. he loves it and it gives him his freedom and you will always have him near you

[deleted account]

My son has 2 choices at the mall - he rides in the stroller or he wears his body harness. (You can also buy harnesses that strap around their wrist.) He is 3 and I think that is too young to be running around loose in public places like that. I am too afraid of losing him. The other option (for a quick trip) is that he must hold my hand the whole time. For being cooperative I give him a treat like m&m's or a lollipop.

Sheryl - posted on 03/10/2010

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well before we go into a place like that in my house i till them what i expect from them. then too i don't let them walk everywhere. if i do they are on a one of those things for kids. even then i don't do that when its really busy. one time when we where at the mall we where getting ready to leave my son walk off to see a truck even though before that i told him to stay and not to move or let go of me. luckly he came right back cause his dad seen him walking off. i spank my son right there. and i told him i told you not to do that. i told him that not safe and i told you that. he has not done it seen. i told him flat out do you want someone to take you away from mommy and daddy. he said no! so i told him then to never do that again.

Christy - posted on 03/10/2010

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I agree with Maggie! My daughter, who is three, pulled this same stunt at Walmart the other day. She had never done that before. After this I put her in the cart and would not let her out until we got to the car. And this was after I scolded her for running off. My daughter HATES to ride in the cart, so this was a major punishment for her. Good luck, I no this is a tough age to deal with.

Tasha - posted on 03/10/2010

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I would by her one of the toddler leashes. You can NEVER be too careful nowadays!!!! I bought one for my 1 year old, and I plan on using it!!!! I think it is better to have her with me even if people look at me like I am crazy!!!! :( They come in such cute animals, I bought my daughter a tan puppy one, but I also know they have a pink poodle one, and also a brown monkey. They have a zippered pocket in the back that she could put toys in too if she wanted!!!! :) I bought mine at walmart for like $10.00, but I know that they also have them at Meijers. :D Good luck with whatever you choose!!!!! :)

Linda - posted on 03/10/2010

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Perhaps strollers with the straps buckled ONLY. Slowly letting her out for a few minutes and making her hold hands. If she tries to bolt or refuses to hold hands, she goes back in the stroller. Just a thought. I can't imagine how nerve wracking that must be!! My own son is now three, but to have him walking about, it's like a part of my brain is always tuned into what he's doing.... it's kind of annoying sometimes because I can't concentrate on one thing anymore. lol. Step parenting doesn't always come with those instincts, I guess. Especially if you're just given a child who is already on the go! :) As much as I'd want to play hard ball with her, having someone snatch her away might cause some real damage. And it sounds like she's pretty sneaky and brave already. Once she realizes that you have come to her rescue, it might reinforce that everything will be just fine if she does it again. Please be safe and keep her close!

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