Teach toddler to stay near me

Any tips on teaching my 22 month old to walk in the direction I’m going?

I don’t mean at home, but at the park, or at church, or just on a walk. He might hold my hand and walk for a bit, if I happen to be going the direction he wants to go. Otherwise, he sits down until I let go of his hand so he can walk to whatever interesting thing he saw. Or away from the car, so we don’t leave the fun place we are enjoying.

I also have a 6 month old, it is not always simple/possible for me to pick up the older brother if he decides to walk in another direction.

In response to your question about running away… I had the same issue with my toddler. Anytime I said come back or yelled his name he would keep running. I started using cues such as “stop your feet” and “sit down” and “come get mommy” making a game out of it and miraculously he stops his feet or sits down and then comes to me. It does not work all the time but probably 9/10 time! @purposeful_play_pt

1 Like

Hi! Rhea, the PT from @walktalkplay here! At that age kiddo’s priorities are exploring his environment and exerting independence! Fun for kiddo. Not for mom!

Speaking as a mom of a 34 month old, it’s going to take lots of practice and repetition of cues like @Purposefulplaypt suggested. However, another idea is to always have a couple intriguing and motivating items on hand to whip out. Like a motivating toy or lovey, the forbidden keys they never get to play with, or even a few favorite snacks! Sometimes a distracting, “Ha, look at this birdy! Let’s go see! Do you see it?” (In the desired direction; even if there is no birdy) =) You’ve gotta get sneaky to survive this season!

Good luck!


I really like those suggestions! I don’t have much to add, except that what you’re describing sounds pretty normal. I found the toddler years challenging, because they don’t have the cognitive ability to assess risk or see things from your point of view, but they are mobile. It’s tough! :slight_smile:

1 Like

@tots-mary is right that this is so normal! At one point I had 3 kids two and under and I felt like I couldn’t go anywhere! If you can take a double stroller with you when you go out that might be very helpful. When you’re ready to leave, you can always use the stroller as a way to leave safely.

I also think the Instagram account @biglittlefeelings might have some great suggestions about how to prepare your toddler when leaving fun places

1 Like