Your Child: To Leash or Not to Leash

Your Child: To Leash or Not to Leash

by Ali Dinani

Woof!

Your child doesn't sound like a dog, why treat them like one?

Misguided parents strap leashes on their kids as a safety measure. Really? A leash for your child?

A child leash is a strap that is attached around a child’s wrist or a harness on the chest to stop the youngster from running away. Here's what's wrong with them.

Child safety is a huge and complex issue, and maybe in some situations child leashes are in fact useful. However, those situations do not include morning walks around the park or ordinary trips to the grocery store.

When might they be used?

It’s Black Friday and you absolutely must do some last-minute shopping, but you can’t find a babysitter in time to take care of your little one(s)! Using a stroller is an option, but in a packed store it would be too ungainly...

Possibly you are walking through downtown NYC with your family, whizzing cars, busy sidewalks, and not enough hands to hold onto everyone…

Hectic events and hazardous locations can be extremely dangerous for young kids. Children have a naive sense of safety, and their protection is every parent’s primary concern.

Maybe these difficult situations where it is extremely hard to find other means to ensure safety do excuse the use of a leash.

But use with care--for the child leash is not about authority or stopping the growth of responsibility and the joy of freedom that is so important to every child.

What are the alternatives?

You have an energetic, curious little one with no sense and who can’t wait to run off the instant you turn around. Using a leash is your only option to keep them safe, right?

Wrong!

Surely you have other creative solutions.

Here are a few suggestions…

  1. Go without the kids

    Let’s be honest. What kid likes going to the pharmacy? And what parent likes hearing “I’m tired!” or “Can we go home now!” Try finding an ‘errand buddy’, another parent who will trade time to look after the children so you can enjoy some efficient and enjoyable time for errands.

  2. Holding hands and strollers

    Holding hands and using strollers are age-old techniques. They just work. However, many children tire of both options…time for a wagon?

  3. GPS Wristbands

    Using a GPS wristband or device may appeal to you as it is an easy way to locate your child if, for some unfortunate reason, you child does go missing.

  4. Red Light, Green Light

    Red light, green light is a simple but fun game that can be used to let your child know when they are getting too far away from you. When they are close to you say ‘green light’, meaning that they can continue at their pace and enjoy frolicking outside. When you switch to red light, the children learn that they should freeze immediately, allowing you to catch up.

  5. Squirt gun

    Well, if we can learn to use leashes for children, why not use another dog training technique—the squirt gun to teach your children appropriate behavior.

    A squirt means stop…are we really on the right path here?

When all is said and done, “To leash or not to leash, that is the question”!