Leashes for Kids – My Personal Thoughts

I recently took part in adding my two cents onto a forum at Moms.com about my opinion on leashes for kids. Someone wanted to know if they were useless. I couldn’t really say I felt they are useless and just like with most parental decisions, I have to only base my personal opinion on items, such as kid leashes, based on my own strong parental beliefs and experiences. I decided that I wanted to open my mind about this topic and find someone who could give me valid life lesson or some opinion on kid leashes that would allow me to better comprehend why some parents choose leashes for kids. I honestly have not yet been 100% convinced why a leash versus a stroller for kid makes any sense. At all.

Maybe you can read this, comment and change my mind, but for now… I just don’t get why a leash for kids is the answer beyond this; being a daycare provider with multiple young kids under their watch OR a parent with multiple young kids under their watch who wouldn’t necessarily fit into today’s stroller options. Any other reason given to me, such as a child being a bolter or a handful didn’t sell me on this topic of kids leashes and here’s why ….

What's your Opinion? Leashes for Kids.

I have three children; a girl age 11 and two boys who are now 5 & 7 years old. My boys are 2 years 6 days apart, so I get the whole handful comments, and bolter comments. My sons were bolters, come to find out my middle child, Aj shown above in the orange is actually on the spectrum, so he didn’t comprehend dangers in the way an every day child would possibly comprehend at a younger age. Honestly though, no kid really understands danger until maybe they have experienced or witnessed a dangerous scenario. It’s all about experiences in life even for children before we fully comprehend the depth of our actions. I get it, a leash for a child keeps them close, it keeps them from bolting off and thus possibly getting harmed badly or worse, killed. I have compassion for those parents who worry about that, I get it, raising kids is scary. Sadly, with or without a leash, our children can get hurt or have an untimely death, we just can’t spend our days in fear of that, I would rather teach the kids ways to be safe through consequences. A kid leash doesn’t teach any consequence, in my opinion.

I feel that a stroller makes way  more sense than a kids leash and here’s why:

  • I owned a double stroller for my bolting sons; if they were slipping out of my hand or I couldn’t seem to grab  their wrist in a strong enough hold to teach them “we hold hands with an adult when we walk”, then they went into that stroller. This made my son’s upset because they no longer could be mobile and on their own two feet.
  • The stroller taught a consequence; you bolt, you don’t listen to the rule of holding an adults hand, then you get buckle into a stroller for either a period of time or the full time we are walking. The boys learned quickly that they would much rather deal with holding an adults hand, being safe, then be strapped up in a stroller.
  • A leash doesn’t teach the children that they lose something for being a bolter, in essence a kids leash simply keeps them at arms length, separates the child from any physical touch of their parent and in turn could have issues with being too close to someone. I think the kids leash can actually deter a child from learning true consequences and alleviate a parents need to teach any life lessons regarding dangers in our world.
  • A leash allows the child to have mobility, yes, I get it. I think that’s great, but on the other hand, I feel that a child needs to learn if they are not safe that they lose that freedom of being able to walk on their own two feet. In other words: they want to act amuck and not be safe, then they lose the ability to be trusted to walk with their parents and will be restrained into a stroller.  Basically if a child is put on a leash, then they are never given the freedom to live and learn, they are essentially being sheltered and not being taught to make proper decisions.

While I feel extremely strong about not using kid leashes, that doesn’t mean I judge another parent when I witness a child on a leash. I tend to shake my head and frown because I feel that poor child isn’t learning anything. In many cases, you see parents with kids on leashes while they are chatting or texting on their cell phone, in those scenarios I really cringe. It’s parents who use leashes for kids as a means to not have to parent that really gives those parents who use leashes, in their own opinion, for true and valid reasons.  It’s a tricky subject and it’s a tough world we live in, but I am just old school in methods of teaching consequences for actions, do I want my child hit by a car? Do I want my child to get hurt badly? NO I don’t, but we can’t bubble wrap our kids forever. At some point we have to teach them the dangers of the world we live in and consequences for actions, if you start at a young age it will stick far into their teen years.

Now it’s your turn … leashes for kids? Do you say yes or no? Why?


Constant Chatter

Your child chatters constantly.  S/he tells you his/her every thought and feeling.  S/he tells you stories.  S/he tells you about the thoughts, feelings, and stories of his/her little classmates.  And s/he asks endless questions.  Is it normal for a child to talk this much?  Should you do something about it?  Read on for more information.

First, you should know that some children can grow out of the need to chatter constantly.  Parents are tasked with helping their children mature and understand the rules regarding socially accepted behavior (hereinafter referred to as boundaries).  When your child exhibits a behavior that runs counter to a boundary, it is up to you to educate your child on where that boundary rests and how important it is to behave within the proscribed boundaries.  For example, if you and your spouse are trying to have a conversation but your child keeps interrupting and speaking ever louder all the while, it is up to you to take a moment to explain that, unless there is something truly urgent happening (i.e., your child wants to alert you to the small kitchen fire occurring just outside your range of vision), then s/he needs to wait his/her turn in the conversation.  You can speak to your child about how important it is to let people feel heard, each in turn.  You may help your child recall an experience in which s/he felt unheard by being interrupted.  You should conclude with a few sentences about how important it is for all people to be able to establish and maintain healthy relationships with others.

While you are imparting the above lesson (and, yes, you will need to impart it on multiple occasions), you can institute “quiet times”.  These designated periods of silence can be wonderfully peaceful for parents of chatterboxes.  Also, they are excellent opportunities to observe if your child is capable of maintaining silence for the designated length of time.

If you have repeatedly shared this learning opportunity with your child . . . all for naught . . . then it may be time for further inquiry.  Ask your child what makes him/her speak as s/he does.  Is something bothering him/her?  Is s/he feeling insecure?  Is s/he very bright and feeling frustrated that the rest of the world can’t keep up with him/her?   Is s/he lonely?   Could your child have ADHD?  If you cannot get to the root of the issue in parent-child conversation, then perhaps it is time to have your child visit with a child psychologist.

You want the best for your child:  good friends, a quality education, and a happy and healthy life.  You do not want people to flee from your child because of the incessant chatter, nor do you want your child to struggle academically (even though s/he may be very bright) because of chatter-related difficulties.  By identifying the problematic behavior and responding to it promptly as detailed above, you can take the steps necessary to help your little chatterbox mature, understand social boundaries, cultivate friends, and succeed in school.

About the Author:

Candi Wingate is an expert in the child care industry with over 20 years experience. She is the founder of Nannies4Hire.com and Care4Hire.com, and author of 100 Tips for Nannies & Families and The Nanny Factor: A Parent’s Guide to Finding the Right Nanny for Your Family”  and a mother of two. Connect on Twitter and Facebook with Candi.

Growing Kids

Guest post from: Constance Rodgers

I love my kids more than anything, but I know that I can’t always be there to protect them. They are all getting older now, and I have no choice but to let them stay at home alone when I am at work and they get home from school. They are now 14, 16, and 17 and are all really good kids. I know that for the most part I can trust them. The youngest is a big tattletale and the two older kids know they won’t be able to get away with much. The worst thing they probably do is watch rated R movies and let their friends come over when they aren’t supposed to. It’s also nice not to have to spend a ton of money on childcare anymore. The one thing I did do before deciding that they could stay at home alone after school was check out HOME SECURITY 101 and set up our home with a security system. It makes me feel a little better that we now have an alarm. At least I know that the whole neighborhood will hear it if someone tries to get in our house.

{AJ Update} Emotional Struggles as a Parent

When my son Aj was born I knew there was something different about him, he was that baby that barely anyone would babysit twice, he was an angry baby from day one. I still breastfed him for eight weeks but being born at 9lbs 5oz this boy wanted to eat more than I could handle nursing him for, while taking care of my then four year old kindergartner daughter. It was all too much and so Aj was switched to formula around 8 weeks of age.

I will be honest, I had this gut feeling that something was up with Aj, but part of me just remove that thought until he was 2 years old. The reason being? I was comparing Aj’s personality to his older sister who was one of those children you would have loved to have six of because even to this day she is relatively an easy child to parent, gives me few issues about anything and is a real sweetheart.

My son Aj is a real sweetheart, but only when he is on a “good mood” high. This child will not be affectionate most times, that actually irritates him to his core. Funny thing is, he was born into an affectionate kind of family but he hates affection most days. It has been difficult to have a child who doesn’t want you to hold him when he gets hurt, who doesn’t want you to kiss his boo-boo’s better and who isn’t really into the family fun and laughter times.

To watch a child grow for the past five years with a low key emotional response to anything has been extremely difficult, especially since he has two siblings who love affection and just being near one another as a family. I was blaming myself for not being ready for a second child, after all Aj wasn’t planned and for not being affectionate enough as a Mother to him when he was a baby, but I have been reassured over and over again by not only Aj’s counselor but other specialists and my immediate family that this is simply how my son is wired. Nothing I did, nothing I can do will change it.

If a psychiatrist diagnoses Aj with a mood disorder, quite possibly bi-polar, it is all about a chemical imbalance in his brain and that my friends isn’t something any parent can create, we don’t have a magic wand to get inside of our children’s head and mess with their gene build up or brain wiring so to speak. So even though I accept this isn’t my fault, I still wish there was a way to fix it without medication. I know bi-polar people have to be on meds all of their life and that alone makes me worry about him having health insurance as an adult and coverage from me if I should happen to no longer have the health insurance he has now.

I know, I worry too much, but don’t we all go through a time or two of worrying about our children? For me, this has been three years of worrying and I won’t stop now because worrying is what created the drive in me to fight for a solution for  Aj since he was two years old.

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Business Summer Hours

Every business has them, Summer hours, usually that means stores will be open later and have more hours of operation but for me, a virtual business owner it means I will slowly start to change hours of availability to later evening hours. The hours will be the same as far as total working hours, but due to Summer vacation coming with my kids I will not be doing work during sunlight hours.

The reason I chose to work from home on a full time basis was to be able to do more activities with my children and not to mention if I were to work outside of the home and try to pay daycare for 2-3 children part time or full time there would be no point in me going to work outside of the home. After paying for gas and daycare I wouldn’t bring in the income I make from home.

So as Summer comes I’m switching gears to be a night owl to ensure both my children and my clients get the attention they deserve. The key to success in switching gears to being a night owl is to ensure your are going to bed a decent hour and waking up about the same time everyday. Eventually your body will get used to this and you will no longer feel exhausted. It’s hard to turn down my computer at 11pm most nights because I swear I am addicted to working, but I know I must force myself to set office hours and stick with them to ensure both my clients and my children’s needs are being satisfied!

Questions for Thought: Do you change your work at home hours during school vacation time? Do you take on less work or simply switch gears to work at night when the children are asleep or at least in bed? Curious to see what works for you.

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