Would You Use A Leash On Your Toddler?

One of the things that I said I would never do as a parent was use a leash on my kids. I think they look stupid on a child, and make the parent using them look like a loser. Leashes are supposed to be for dogs, not children. I mean, just hold your kid’s hand.  How hard is it?

That was before I had a runner.

My son is one of those kids who will just take off running without warning.  And he doesn’t stop.  And he’s fast.

Whether at the store and he’s running down the aisle toward the other side of the store, at the playground where he slides down the slide and then just takes off for the trees, or in front of our house and he’s running down the sidewalk.  The kids is a habitual runner.

He just likes to run, and he likes to be independent. And the problem is that he’s too young to really know or understand the limits and the danger of his running away.

He doesn’t have an internal monitor of when he’s too far away from us, he just trusts that we’ll always come after him – which we will, but still there’s a point at which he is just too far away that it’s not safe.  He doesn’t understand the danger he could get himself in – whether running toward a road, or getting lost because he’s out of our sight.

He’s independent, so he doesn’t like to be held. He’s heavy and he’s strong, especially when he’s trying to buck himself out of your arms, and he doesn’t want to be constrained by holding hands either.  “Me walk myself!” is a favorite phrase.

So when our friends offered to loan us a leash they used for their son, I gratefully accepted, and hung my head in shame.  I was going to be one of “those” parents.

I don’t use it all that often.  But in situations where we really need him to stay close to us, we know he’s not likely to listen very well, and we need him to stay safe, it is actually really helpful.

We definitely get strange and disapproving looks.  But hey, I have to do what is best for my family and my son.  I have to do what I have to do to keep him safe, with as little resistance as possible.  You have to choose your battles right?

When I have to choose between fighting with my son to keep him close and safe, and using an apparatus that I previously thought should only be used on animals, I’ll choose the former.

So when you see a parent using a leash for their toddler, instead of giving them a disgusted look, think about how they are keeping their child safe and happy, and keeping them out of your way!

What do you think about leashes for kids?  Would you use one for your toddler?

Photo credit: The Consumerist/Flickr

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