Toddler Running Away? 10 Tips to Deal

toddler runner

Learn 10 tips to manage your toddler running away (or TWO toddlers running away, often in different directions!), sponsored by our friends at Step2! Make sure to check out their Side-By-Side Push Around SUV Click here to buy on Amazon.

step2 side by side push around SUV

Take the fun of outdoor ride-on toys to the next level with the side-by-side design of this double ride-on! Two toddlers can ride comfortably in the all-new Side-By-Side Push Around SUV™ by Step2, each with contoured seats and lots of legroom. From the realistic off-road SUV styling to the large wheels with swivel steering and extra storage under the seat bench, this double ride-on toy has so many features that add excitement to any adventure and keeps your toddler running away at a minimum.

Toddler Running Away? 10 Tips to Deal

Buckle up with the two seat belts and fold the adjustable canopy down to lock into place for a shaded ride. Little ones can even pretend to drive their off-road dune buggy, each with their own steering wheel! There’s even extra storage for parents, too; store trip essentials in the mesh pockets on the back of the canopy base. 

  • Realistic off-roading SUV design features headlight and front grill detailing.
  • Side-by-side design accommodates two toddlers.
  • Each toddler has their own safety belt and steering wheel.
  • Included canopy provides shade for kids to ride in comfort.
  • Canopy is easy to disassemble to make transport easy in most standard trunks.
  • Extra storage for kids on the go – flip the bench seat up to store trip essentials.
  • Store even more accessories in the mesh pockets on the canopy base.
  • Wide, easy-grip handle lets parents push and steer with ease.
  • Easily steer and maneuver the ride-on toy with the front swivel wheels.
  • Maximum weight per child in ride-on: 50 lbs. (22.67 kg.)
  • Made EverTough™, this double-seater ride-on toy is uniquely indestructible, ready to outlast hours of playtime fun!
  • Adult assembly required.
  • In the box: Double-sided ride-on base with bench seat, four large wheels, canopy with hardware, two safety belts and two steering wheels.
Toddler Running Away? 10 Tips to Deal

Toddler Running Away? 10 Tips to Deal

The moment your toddler finally starts to walk is full of excitement. When you’ve got twins and you have two toddlers starting to walk, it’s a next-level thrill ride. And when two toddlers start to run…it’s like chasing a runaway freight train (or two)! This is a big problem because you are a parent of multiples. One is heading north and the other one south. Say good-bye to the perfect afternoon, because you are now in a state of panic.

This subject gives me post-traumatic stress thinking about it.  My twins loved to run and it scared me to death. I had my share of humiliation and shedded tears of defeat.  With that disclosure, I hereby claim that I am not an expert; however, I did learn a few tips along the journey:

Toddler Running Away? 10 Tips to Deal

1. Practice patience

Toddler running starts around 15 months of age. They are exploring a new world and learning how to set boundaries.  It is important to remember that our children are not trying to be naughty or rebel against us.  They are in, what pediatricians call, the “exploratory stage”.  At this age, they cannot fully comprehend the dangers involved with running away.  Be patient.  You won’t be able to stop toddler running overnight, but if you practice persistence the situation will improve a lot faster.

How to Get Out the Door With Twins in 10 Easy Steps (or, Why I’m Always Sweating)

2. Set boundaries

If you are taking your running toddlers out to play, give them a visual boundary.  Teach them that they cannot go beyond a certain point. Toddlers identify everything with the senses.  If they touch, see, and hear something they are likely to comprehend it longer.  Walk the boundaries with them so they understand where the stopping point is.  Use a tree, a rope, or draw a chalk line to visually identify their boundaries. Reward and encourage them when they stop where they should.

Twiniversity memberships

Need more support? Start a Twiniversity Membership

Want more from Twiniversity? Sign up today for a Twiniversity Membership! Choose from 2 levels starting at $6.99/month to connect with other parents of twins in a monthly Zoom twin club, build your twin parenting community in our private Facebook group, and expand your twin parent knowledge with our video learner library. Click here to learn more…

toddler runners

3. Talk expectations

Before you leave the house, set the expectations.  Explain to them what you are going to do, and tell them what you want them to do.  “We are going into a parking lot with lots of cars and I need you to hold mommy’s hand.” Keep it simple and help them to understand the importance.  Ask them a question at the end of your instruction to ensure they understand. “Can you hold my hand?”  Toddlers will forget what your expectations are, so remind them throughout your journey. If your toddler takes off, try to avoid using the words “no” or “stop”.  Instead, try sentences like “stay on the grass”, “slow down your feet”, or “can you show me freeze”. Talk to them and they are likely to stay with you to have a conversation.

Need strategies for getting the twins out the door? Read this: Getting Out the Door with Twins

4 . Find safe places

Identify your safe spots for toddler running. This may be a fenced-in yard or a park.  Take them to the safe spot and let them run.  Giving them the freedom to explore in a safe place will reduce the number of times they run off in dangerous situations.  As you allow them to run, keep them within a safe distance and utilize this time to practice boundaries and the following tools.

5. Teach them danger

Start teaching your toddler about things that could hurt them.  Don’t be afraid to use the word “dangerous.” Do it in a way not to scare them, but allow them to see why it is not safe to run off.  Let them see the cars moving around them.  In the grocery store, show them how you cannot see someone after they turn a corner. Explain that if they can’t see mommy, she can’t see you. Songs and books on the subject are great teaching tools.

Twiniversity podcast
Subscribe to our FREE Twiniversity Podcast!

Subscribe for FREE to the Twiniversity Podcast

Got twins? Us too! The Twiniversity Podcast with Natalie Diaz is created by parents of twins FOR parents of twins, from expecting times through the teenage years and everything in between. This podcast is all about parenting twins, offering plenty of tips, parenting hacks, and of course, humor. Just know that we are laughing WITH you every step of the way. Click here to learn more…

Toddler Running Away? 10 Tips to Deal

6. Remember safety

If your toddlers are too young to understand danger, keeping them safe in a wagon, stroller, backpack harnesses, or a push car will be necessary, especially if you are out with them on your own. Take your time letting them “off-leash” in public. There’s no rush and you should do it when you’re confident they can follow directions.

You are a parent of multiples. You don’t have one toddler to chase; you have two or more.  Don’t worry what other people think — do whatever you feel is necessary to keep your children safe. Remember that no amount of instruction will guarantee that your toddlers will not run off.  It is important to take responsibility to ensure your child’s safety.  Find out what works for you, and use these tools to keep them at your feet.

7. Hands on

This tool is all about keeping their little hands close.  It is easy for the public to suggest that we hold our toddlers’ hands while en route.  As a parent of multiples, we know that this is not always possible.  It is important to teach them to “hold on”.  When hands are not available, encourage them to hold the stroller, a grocery cart, or even your pant leg.  In a parking lot have them put their hands on the car.  We do this daily!  You can get Disney car magnets (and other decals) that attach to your car.  Put them on the doors and have your kids put their hands on the magnets while you unlock the doors.

Overwhelmed by the idea of taking your twins on errands with you? Read this: 8 Tips for Running Errands with Twins

8. Let them help

As they start to earn your trust, let them help.  Allow them to take turns pushing the grocery cart.  Have them hold the cans or take food off the shelves.  Ask them to pick out oranges for you, or to put the peanut butter in the cart.  This will keep them engaged and prevent them from running off.  As you walk to the park, ask them to help you pick the flowers (dandelions) or to help you push the stroller.  They love to help!

run in different directions funny
Or you can just pick your favorite to run after… LOL

9. Make it fun

Play games that will teach them not to run off.  “Green means go, yellow means slow, and red means stop.”  Practice this in your safe spot and as you are driving around town.  Allow them to run on green light, but stop on red light.  ‘Catch me’ and ‘Tag’ are also fun diversion games.  A child will often run off in hopes that mommy will catch them.  Reverse this.  If they start to run off, have them catch you. These games will help teach them to come back and stop on their own.  Another favorite is a game we call ‘hopscotch’.  As they walk the squares of the sidewalk we tell them to hop on one foot, two feet, turn-around, jump, or freeze.  These types of games will redirect their focus, keeping them close.

Twiniversity email subscription signup
Sign up for FREE Twin Parent Emails!

Want to be the first to know about giveaways, deals, and more just for twin parents?

Sign up for the Twiniversity email list! Subscribe today to get emails about giveaways, events, weekly article roundups, and more! Pregnant with twins? We’ll be sending you a weekly twin pregnancy email to keep you on track with your pregnancy to-do list! Click here to learn more…

10. Create rewards

Try to avoid consequences such as taking the child home or cutting the trip short.  This may be the attention your child is looking for or the response they were hoping to get.  If you cut your grocery trip short because there’s a toddler running, then your kids learn to control the situation.  Don’t make this a habit.  Instead, redirect your focus to rewards.  Use short and long term rewards that are of high value to them.

Remember that you are not alone in this journey.  I can guarantee it won’t be easy. Your toddlers are not naughty.  They are not out of control or disobedient.  Your toddlers are confident, smart, and happy children that see doors wide open.  They are setting out on a journey to explore the priceless moments of life.  Laugh with them and help them see the sights.

toddlers running

Minden Buckingham lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband Mike and fraternal twin girls,  Hanna and Emma.  She has two bachelor degrees from Portland State University in Business Management and Human Resources Management.  Minden is a stay home mom and enjoys the outdoors, photography, and writing.

sponsored
X