I was asked recently whether I Sarah wears reins when we go out together………. As Sarah become more and more mobile I was concerned about how I would keep her safe when we were out and about once she was walking. A friend bought some reins for me to use and Sarah detested them.....so they were only used once. During a trip to park one day, James and the boys went off ahead and Sarah and I spent some time walking alone. I talked to her and asked her to walk 'next to Mummy'. When she slowed down I did too and when she walked ahead I stopped and asked her to come back to me. I try to ask her to do things rather than asking her not to do things. E.g. "Please walk" rather than "don't run" and she seems to respond really well to this. This 'training' (for want of a better word) has paid off big time because she has never run off. Even crossing the road; I can't hold her hand so I tell her to stand next to me and wait. Then when we are about to cross, I point to and describe exactly where we are going and say that we are going to walk etc. As a result, we cross safely and not in a hap-hazard way. Having said all of this, I will not let my guard down and become complacent...she is only 2 and a half years old and I talk her through everything every time.

I am surprised that I do not need to use reins, but pleasantly surprised! Of course, when we are in the park now, I am happy for her to run ahead or lag behind within reason as it’s a time for play and discovery. However, safety is the priority when walking on the pavement or crossing the road.

One thing that really bugs me is when I see parents and children walking along the pavement and the children are walking closest to the road………..