Friday, June 12, 2009

How to Catch a Runner

When you have a kid who can't be reasoned with... or a kid that just doesn't want to follow directions, many times you get a runner. Sam is a runner. And he's a fast one. He runs EVERYWHERE! If I don't keep hold of him, he is off running. In the stores, the library, the playground, the parking lot, church... He runs when I need to dress him, he runs when he poops his diaper, and he runs when I need to get his shoes on. It is a never ending battle with Sam. I can't even walk up to him and grab him when he is standing there, because he sees me coming and runs. AHHH, the frustration!! Not to mention that with my pleasantly plump figure there is no way I can catch him most of the time. So over the last few years I have devised many tricky ways to catch him. Here are a few. Note: All of these methods are tried and true, by yours truly.

1. The Usual Method. Chase him til he's tired. This is not my favorite method, but when all else fails, it works... eventually.

2. The Snake Method. Hide behind some furniture and get low to the ground. Wait until they look away and slither out like a snake. Then spring and grab what ever part is closest. Legs work really well.

3. The Nonchalant Method. Walk past them casually like you don't see them, like you don't care. Then just when they are behind you, jump around and snatch.

4. The Herd and Corner Method. This method works really well if you have a plethora of child gates. Before you have to go after the kid, strategically set up child gates so there is no where to run. Then herd them into a corner and ponce. I do this at least once a day.

5. The "Be Asleep" Method. My mom actually gave me this idea, even though she doesn't know it. When you can't catch your kid, just drop to the floor and pretend to be asleep. A curious toddler CAN NOT resist getting closer to see what happened. Peek out the bottom of your eye lids and jump up and grab when they get close enough. Warning: Make sure you have an extra diaper on hand, because this method might seriously scare the you know what out of your kid.

6.The Fishing Net Method. Now toddlers and small children can't resist flying blankets or towels... they are just too much fun. Take a blanket or whatever is handy and start shaking it out and act like you are having so much fun! Then snap it lightly toward the child like you want to play. Completely irresistible! They'll run right toward you and laugh as the blanket falls on top of them. Then instead of repeating, catch them in the blanket and haul them off for bath time, bedtime or diaper change or whatever. The runner actually thinks it's cool.

7. The I'm Leaving Method. I use this one at church and at the park. Just pack up all your stuff, tell them you are leaving and that they can live at the park or church. And walk off (secretly watching them out of the corner of your eye) -- they usually freak out when they think you don't care and are ditching them.

8. The Tell Them You Have a Secret Method. This works best with little girls. They just can't resist the chance of knowing a secret, especially if you tell them you have to whisper it. Then when they come say something like, "I love you!" Then grab them!

9. The Play Favorites Method. Sam hates it when we do this one. But it works. We get Nephi and totally overdo the "You are such a good boy" complements. And reward Nephi for being obedient in front of Sam. So if you do this, the runner usually at that points gets jealous of the other child and runs over to get some attention for himself... which he gets, when he comes. My husband uses this method a lot.

10. The Leash Method. I have to use this when I take the boys to the store by myself. I got one of those kid's leashes for the boys so I can hang on to them. They think they are little backpacks and feel totally cool. If you have issues about putting your runner on a leash, just remember, it is much better then a remote controlled shock collar. (Don't worry, that I have never tried... but don't think I haven't been tempted...).

And my personal favorite:

The Snack Method. This is not to be confused with the Bribery Method -- which I didn't list here because every self-respecting parent knows how to bribe their kids. I use this method at least once a week. But a warning, overusing and abusing this method may result in your child wising up quicker then you think. So use wisely. Okay, this is what you do. Your kid is running amok on the playground, or at church and you can't think of anything to get them to the car. You calmly cup your hand in front of you and pretend that you have a yummy treat in it. Start pretending to eat from your hand. Make sounds of pleasure, like YUMMY or MMMMM... trust me, those are a kids favorite sounds, and little ears will hone onto them. They might just run over and try to get some.... or might be a little hesitant -- in that case, hold your hand out and say, "Do you want some? It's so good!" This works EVERY TIME on Sam! It helps to once in a while ACTUALLY have a treat in your hand... keeps them guessing. When they get close enough... well, you know what to do.


This post was originally posted on my personal blog 30 March 2009.


Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

I know all this methods intimately as I have 2 runners on my hands - both of whom are getting to be quicker than me. Curses!

You're tagged over at mine

Our Family said...

Hahaha! These are great ideas! I like your comment about "self-respecting parents." :o)

Jill said...

I have a runner as well. Though I doubt he's as fast as Sam. Thanks for some new ideas. And yes, as a self respecting parent, I certainly know how to bribe my child. ;)

NYC Mama said...

I'm definitely going to try #5 and 6 (#5 had me cracking up!). I've tried #7 though and my uber-independent Theo just keeps going as he waches me walk away. He seems to have this twinkle in his eye like, "Whoo hoo, Mama is leaving! Yayyy!!! Now where are the cookies in this place?!?"

Kimberly said...

These are fantastic! There are a couple new ones for me here, so I'll have to try them out :)

Guilty Mother said...

Ahh yes, we have used the "Secret Method" with much success on our wee Lucy but the snatch grab and tackle approach seems best for Billy the wriggler. :)

bettyl said...

Oh, dear! Sounds like there's always something happening at your house! Will have to keep these in mind!

BPOTW said...

Those are such great techniques!

Thanks for linking at BPOTW!

♥ bfs~"Mimi" ♥ said...

This may sound odd, but your post is very sweet. And your children are beautiful. You are loving everything about mama-hood, and that's the way it should be, despite any challenges that come along the way. ♥