So, over the last year, it has been a struggle to get him to hold my hand. He used to always be in his pushchair, so it wasn't much of an issue. However, when he turned two, he wanted to walk more, and I wanted to reserve the pushchair for days I was ill or had low energy.
After a fair amount of trial and error, we came to an understanding... not that you should allow a three year old to dictate their safety to you, but I was able to figure out what worked best for this little guy, with the least hassle.
Below is a list of all the things I have tried or had suggested to me and the outcome...
- Put a harness on him. - Yeah.... no. Good for those that want to do it and it works for them, but I know that the minute we forget the harness at home, our guard will be down.
- Use a wrist strap: I had been considering this, until the day I saw another mum with her very active-resistant threenager run off in the opposite direction where she was going... as terrible as it was, a bungie slingshot effect was the end result.
- Belt loops: I haven't tried this one yet, but it is in the cards. I was suggested to try getting him to hold my belt loop or hang something he would want to hold onto off it.
- Use a consequence: If he doesn't hold your hand, he will be carried. I do this on occasion, but I also will use the pram if he refuses to hold my hand. Usually at this point he is tired, and he really only wants to use the pram, but is too tired to relay that information - or he still wants to be a "big boy" but I have to make that decision for him
- Talk it out with them: This is what has seemed to work best for me. When we are in the car, leaving kindy - basically before we go anywhere - I have a chat with him. I tell him what is expected of him and what will happen if he doesn't listen. We have a rule that when we are going to and from kindy he has to walk along the footpath. He has one chance. If he doesn't walk on the footpath next to me, he has to hold my hand or I will carry him. We also have a rule that when we cross the road or are in a carpark he has to hold my hand. NO EXCEPTIONS.
- Hug it out: I use this when he's not listening and I am low on evergy - unable to carry him so we will sit down where we are and just hug it out until he is ready to listen and hold my hand or walk nicely beside me. I understand that this usually happens when he is tired, and all he needs is a hug from me, but it has worked very well. Even just the suggestion "Do we need to hug this out?" works!
- Praise: Whenever they do what you wish, be it hold your hand or walk nicely beside you - Praise, Praise and Praise again!
- Put a wrist support on: I don't know if this would work for everyone, but I have a wrist support that I put on when my wrist is sore. Yesterday, I had to put it on, and was still wearing it at Kindy pick up. Max asked me if my wrist was sore and I told him yes it was. So from the moment the gate closed, he held my hand to the car. I praised him for being such a good boy. My sweet little boy replied with "I hold your hand Mum to make it feel better" - I'm going to use this and see if it works again!!!!