When Your Toddler Bolts

Does your toddler take off at top speed the minute you put him down? Does he run off in parking lots, stores and playgrounds?

While some parents lament the clingy toddler, parents of bolters are understandably exhausted. The bolter may love the chase, get easily distracted or simply be very independent.

Whatever the reason, try these strategies with your little speed racer:

  • Take short outings to places with less traffic or other risks until your child learns to stay closer to you.
  • Explain before and during an outing that your child must stay close and not run away, or you’ll have to head home.
  • Put your toddler in a stroller in busier surroundings when you have to —for safety and peace of mind.
  • Praise your child when she stays close; catch and correct her when she runs away.
  • Don’t laugh when your child bolts, even if you think it’s funny; that makes it into a chasing game, which toddlers love.
  • If he disobeys more than once after being corrected, tell him you’ll both need to go home and follow through on what you say.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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