I must admit, my younger self looked down upon people who used kid leashes. What kind of parent degrades their child like that? Aren’t they responsible enough to keep track of their kids?
Then I had children.
A friend in my playgroup was the first one to get a leash. Her daughter liked to run off, and with #2 rapidly growing inside her belly a leash became a necessity. I ended up getting one for V, but didn’t make much use of it until Little A came along. Now it’s constantly in the car so that I always have it handy.
Despite the stigma attached to kid leashes (no pun intended), I haven’t had a single bad comment from someone. Neither has my friend. In fact, we’ve both had many positive comments. If you’re on the fence about getting a leash, or just want to know the benefits, here’s a handy list for you:
Some kids are runners. My daughter is one, and if I call for her to stop it only spurns her on further. If she’s making a break for the street, I can’t assume she’ll stop at the curb and not plunge herself into danger. It’s not a gamble I’m willing to take.
Some kids don’t hold hands. My daughter hates holding hands, unless of course she doesn’t need to. If we’re casually strolling through the park she’ll hold hands. If we’re crossing the street she’ll yank her hand and cry and collapse to the floor and tantrum. We have a rule that she has to either hold hands or be carried across the street/parking lot so we always end up carrying her. It’s a pain in the ass (and back). The leash allows her to walk and be safe.
Leashes give the illusion of freedom. This goes back to the hand-holding thing. It’s all about control. She wants to feel like an adult or a big kid, so she doesn’t want to hold hands. A leash, however, is perfectly acceptable in her mind because it allows her to walk “by herself.” She feels like she has freedom, even if she really doesn’t.
Leashes give more freedom than a stroller. Make no mistake- you WILL have to walk a lot slower when your kid is walking. But your kid is also going to get a lot more exercise and be a lot more engaged with the world that he would be just passively riding along in a stroller.
I want my damn hands free. Even if you don’t have two kids the leash can come in handy. Sometimes you just need to have both or even one hand free. I’d like to be able to put my diaper bag and purse in the car without worrying about my kid taking off into traffic.
Leashes are early training for a backpack. That friend I mentioned? Her kid moved from leash to backpack. They actually do a lot of outdoor stuff, so this allows her child to carry some of her own supplies (lunch or portable potty).
Leashes are cute. Adults have too many psychological hang-ups about things. Kids don’t. While an adult might see a leash as a degrading tool of oppression, a child just sees a cute animal pack. My daughter LIKES her leash. Sometimes she gets mad when we try to take it off, or if we try to “tuck in the tail” (put away the leash portion).