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How do I stop my 3 year old from running away in public
I'm at my whits end.  I'm a mom & preschool teacher.  my 3 year old daughter attends preschool in the facility where i work, and she has started to run away from both me & her teachers.    Today, we couldn't find her....everyone was looking & we had to shut down the facility completely until she was found.  

I've even started to spank her for it....nothing abusive, but I will tell her that she will be getting a spanking, and let her think about it on the ride home, then I give 3 light spanks & put her to bed for her nap.    

I'm really concerned about stopping this behavior because it terrifies me to think of someone picking her up & taking her.  I think she's running away because she likes the chasing & attention, and (before I got completely fed up & started spanking) i talked with her about strangers....told her that "monsters" look just like regular people, and they would take little children who ran from their teachers & parents & never give them back......I don't want to scar her for life or make her paranoid, but I feel an urgency to get this behavior under control.    I also have a 19 month old, so when they go in different directions, I really don't know what to do.  

Any advice would be really welcome.  I hope you don't think i'm awful for spanking.
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This may sound cruel to some, but common sense to others:  get a harness nad a leash!  My wife had made harnesses for our very outdoors cats for hiking adventures. We discovered that it also fits the toddler as well!  it is very safe, and very effective means of wrangling them in.  So much so that she is now making one especially for our 14 month old daughter.  

As for the spanking, I don't see that being at all effective for any behavior...  and believe me, our 6 year old son really pushes it to the limit!  We tried for a short while for some of his behavior, but it only made it worse.  Positive resolution is difficult but worth it in the end!
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You folks are letting children decide. You are the parent and child needs to know you are the authority in there lives. A watchful eye and a strong voice should be enough. You have to back up a strong voice, its not theres to decide anything. It gives the child security. We had a teacher Drill instructor and a punitive Drill instructor in Marine Corps Boot Camp. Now I am not saying this is ideal for raising children. But its a structured system. If there is a father he should be just that. If your single. You are the adult you are head of the family. Child has to understand in no way shape or form are they in charge. I don't care what people say as I have had chance to see 1st hand it works  and 1-7 are the most important years for childs life. Children don't make mistakes parents do.
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13167 tn?1327197724
I completely agree with the leash thing. Other than that,  the only thing that will stop this is not looking for her - and you obviously can't do that in public,  it's too dangerous.  

My nephew kept hiding from his mother in their house when he was that age - and he's a GREAT hider,  so she'd have to spend lots of time looking for him and calling him.  Finally, she decided to stop looking for him and when he would come out of hiding (after an hour or so,  literally) she'd pretend she didn't notice he was missing.

They have "hand holder" leashes that might be more socially acceptable than harness leashes,  but maybe she could get out of the "hand holder".  

Best wishes with this.  It would really try my patience!
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This is incredibly scary!! I also have a three yr old. I have taught him about “stranger danger” from a very young age. I ‘talk’ to him, explain things to him. I realize like adults personalities and aptitudes vary from child to child. Ethan would not run away in a public place because he understands it’s risky…I have friend w/ a child the same age that do not seem to have the ability to rationalize, or care for that matter, again I attribute that to personality differences more so than developmental issues. Until I was confident she would not run away in public I would entertain the idea of a leash to keep her safe, demanding constant hand holding @ the mall ect. I realize you are a preschool teacher but until the problem has been resolved I would not be comfortable w/ her in that setting.
     Spanking a child is demoralizing and teaches them what exactly? As a Registered Nurse if I have an issue Re: my son I reference what the American Academy of Pediatrics has to say-they are the gold standard. They too agree spanking doesn’t wk…I would advise you to wk w/her further. Consistent consequences for running and if all else fails involve other professionals. I think it is probably a phase and will resolve soon?
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535822 tn?1443980380
Those Leashes are very effective for the public outings and you could limit the outings till she learns, and explain to her why she has the leash on ,and until she satys near you she has to wear it, if she does it at home let her, dont feed into it, the least said the sooner it will stop, no spoanking you are only teacher her it is okay to hit,then what will you say when she does it to another child and you have taught her its okay ..ask her teachers to help you in supervising her, does she get enough stimulation at school, does she say why she runs away?
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Hope the running away has stopped by now !! I'm reading this as my daughter aged 3 is driving me insane with running away in public places. It makes my blood boil then I feel so guilty for compley loosing it with her. But it's the main thing that drives me absurdly mad. She just runs & runs without a backward glance. Or worse , glances back then continues running !!! I've really tried to scare her , telling her she may get lost & never get found again , I'm always reminding her about stranger danger but she simply has no fear.
I'm at my wits end and just hope it will pass soon, she has been like this since she could walk :((
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377493 tn?1356505749
My son is like this...he thinks it's fun to run and hide.  I have him on a childs harness and it's great.  His is a backpack shaped like a monkey, and the tail is for mom to hold onto.  $20 at walmart and I love it!
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535822 tn?1443980380
Harness's work also maybe continuing taking the stroller .and put her in it if she runs off..best stay calm , easier said than done I know when you are concerned .
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Take the child out of the preschool setting until he stops this behavior.  He is obviously not ready for it. This will take a lot of your time and patience but take him to public settings and continue to "push" the stay close rule.  Continue talking about the dangers of running away and he will eventually get it.  All children learn at different rates.  My son does this also but I have never bought a harness/leash.  I feel no embarrassment for my sons behavior just an urgency to correct it.  Small rewards when he dies well and disciplinary action when he does not  (like no Ipad or TV) have worked wonders.  
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Leashes are for animals not children. Its a lazy way to be a parent and God knows what it will teach or form the child to be.
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Children are mirrors of the adults around them, provided there is not some serious health issue. One person says the child called them a f something or other. Well the child had to see that was a way to control. They simply want there way. If you are weak and not being the authority the child needs you and later in life the child will suffer for it. Ya don't have to beat a child but restraining them shows authority. A strong authority voice should solve the issue. But you have to back up what you say. There only young people whom are still learning to reason.
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If a child runs away in public its because they know you will find them and everything will be ok. Want to stop them from doing it. Next time it happens and I hope the child isn't harmed while away. You stop what you are doing you retrieve the child and leave where you are at if possible and go home.  You tell the child they are never to do this again or they will not go out with you again, unless they do as they are told.and they will be left at home with baby sitter or somebody of authority. A light smack to back of the hand lets them know its wrong and your authority is absolute when you first find them or get hold of them. Each situation is obviously different, but the problem is you do not represent a figure of authority to the child. You don't have to be mean or physicalin a way to hurt them but you must let child know you are able and will restrain them if needed.  Authority is not a bargaining chip you have to stand fast the child does not like your decision it doesn't matter as your authority is final and just use common sense.
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To take it futher, be sure to arrange a babysitter or do when spouse is home. Purposly leave the child at home. And tell them they are not going because they defied you. Make it clear to them you are in charge always. Do not let them go. And before the next time you let them go out with you sit them down and get them to understand  this is not going to change if they disobey you again.and if it does happen don't take them out until you feel they will obey.
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