While our youths were often spend running with wild abandon through the streets of our neighborhoods, the world today is not quite the same place many of us grew up in. Today we are much more vigilant about letting our kids run away or run off. This is true even in our own neighborhoods, and it is true when we are shopping.
While we used to be able to stroll casually up and down the aisles at the grocery store or through the halls of the shopping mall with minimal parental supervision, parents today need to be more cautious. One tactic many parents use when shopping in crowded malls or grocery stores is the child leash. While it may look like a cruel or old-fashioned technique, it really works, and it instantly gives parents more control over their little ones and the chance to shop without worrying that something bad could happen at any moment.
The question many mothers have is how to use the leash without upsetting or distressing their child. Even the youngest child these days can be upset to be seen in front of their friends (or even strangers) wearing a ‘babyish’ child leash, so a good first step is making the leash seem more like a fun toy than a parental control device.
A great idea can be to choose one that looks like a backpack. You can find many that appear to be monkeys, puppies, and other animals. Your child puts on the animal backpack, you connect the clips across your child’s chest to stop them from slipping out of it, and grab the elasticated ‘tail’ which acts as a leash. The tail will usually have a wrist bracelet or clip which you can attached to your person to stop you dropping it.
If the child objects to wearing the backpack, place a fun ‘surprise’ in the backpack such as a small toy or treat and tell them that if they wear the backpack for an hour while you go to the mall, then can have what is inside. You can even make it into a game by locking the backpack with a 99 cent mini-lock, and giving them the key as soon as you leave the store.
As important as how to use the leash is how to use it in regards to your child’s feelings. Let your son or daughter know that the purpose of the leash is to keep them safe and to keep them close to you so they don’t get lost. Explain to them that there are lots of strangers out there and that it is very easy to lose them in a crowded store, which would upset you even if you find them again safely.
To sum up, a fun leash that doubles as a backpack and stores toys can be much more enjoyable for your little one than the traditional wrist leash which your parents probably used on you, while still offering you the safety and peace of mind they are intended to provide.