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Mum and Dad

I judged parents who put their toddlers on a leash — now I'm one of them


Michelle Stein

posted in Parenting

Confession: Before I had children, I would silently judge parents who walked around with their children in toddler harnesses. Clueless, younger me would think, “Seriously? They’ve got that kid on a leash. Do they think he’s a dog, or something? How lazy.”

Even after having two children, I still scoffed at the idea of a toddler harness. For some reason, those two were (usually) okay with holding mommy’s or daddy’s hand while walking from the parking lot into a store. Or at the zoo. Or anywhere, really. So I honestly didn’t see the need to physically tether them to me.

Well, add that to the list of things I said I’d never do when I became a parent, but totally do anyway. (Like counting to three to get a stubborn kid to do what they’re being asked. Or using the TV as a babysitter.) Because guess what I just bought via Amazon Prime? You guessed it. A toddler leash.

How did I get here — with my foot stuck in my mouth — you ask? Two words: Wild child. My third kid, an 18-month-old daughter, boasts a level of stubbornness I had no idea existed. My strong-willed toddler is at the point where she insists I set her down to walk when we’re in public  — yet she refuses to hold my hand. Nope. Instead, if I attempt to hold onto her hand or arm, she’ll flail herself on the floor and start wailing. So I pick her up. Then she promptly limp-noodles her way out of my arms, and I’m forced to heave her over my shoulder while she’s kicking and screaming.

Yeah, not fun. But you know what? Neither is a lost toddler. Or one who runs out into the street.

Enter: The toddler harness. It allows her to explore her surroundings and test boundaries while still providing a certain level of safety. So in the name of my toddler’s safety and my own sanity, I’m leashing that girl.

toddler harness

My point is this: I get it, leash-wielding parents. I totally get it now. And I’m so sorry I ever judged you.

Have you ever used a toddler harness? Did you feel like others were judging you?

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