Kids on a leash?

I have always disliked the idea of having kids on a leash. In fact, I remember having this conversation with my husband before our twins were born, and he was very much in favor of leashes and I thought there was no way I would put my babies on a leash. Well… since my babies are on the run, I’ve kind of changed my mind!

My girls are 14 months old now and are running, climbing, exploring… and I can’t bring myself to think about taking them to the street without a stroller and without any kind of restrain. What if they decide to run in different directions? What if we get into a crowded area and I loose sight of them? I think leashes are a fantastic idea!

I can imagine that airports, amusement parks, malls, stores are much easier and safer to navigate with your children on a leash. As other mom pointed out in a moms group I’m part of, it’s really not much different than strapping them into a stroller, high chair, car seat etc. It’s all designed for their safety not to harm the children or degrade them.

Some people believe that children feel that they have no control, and that it is better to have them walk holding the stroller or your hand, and once they let go, you restrain them again in the stroller. This way, they know they have some control over what happens to them. In fact, there’s a very popular and highly acclaimed philosophy of child rearing, Montessori, that opposes child-restraiment.

I’m no expert on Montessori philosophy, but I would see a leash to be more Montessori than the alternative. I am assuming than a parent would not just let his/her child run wild in dangerous and crowded situations. In this case, I see the leash as a better alternative to forcing the child to walk right next to you, forcing them to hold your hand, forcing them to sit on the stroller, all of which my children often do not want to do, especially when they know how to walk. The leash allows them freedom of movement while allowing you to keep them safe.

I will never use the leash to control the child’s movement; I will not yank on it, or restrain them with it. I will use it as a safety net if the child ran into a truly dangerous situation unexpectedly. I see a child leash as just a way to tether child and parent together to avoid separation, not to control the child’s movements. Ideally the child would be unaware the leash had a restraining effect.

I also believe that in certain circumstances they are particularly useful and lifesaving. For those of us with twins, or higher degree multiples; or for those with children very close in age; for those with kids with special needs who are not always aware of the dangers around them… I think the leashes are fantastic tool to help us keep our kids safe. So, I am definitely getting them for the spring!

One thought on “Kids on a leash?”

  1. I don’t have kids, so I am not judging you.

    However, leashes are not something that’s supported by the Montessori philosophy. Every day I see 18-month olds parading down the hallway, walking alongside the teacher with controlled movements. The expectation is set, the movements are modeled at a pace that is right for the child (that means, walk very very slowly, otherwise the child will try to match your speed and will run), and the consequences of running (falling, banging into a chair, etc.) are allowed to be experienced (mind you, in dangerous situations like in the street it is important to hold the child’s hand).

    Do what’s best for you, but know that there are other alternatives. Good luck! 🙂

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