Harnesses for twins in the park?

Allie1348

Earning My Ears
Joined
Sep 19, 2019
Name changed for this one as I know this can cause alot of strong feelings amongst members, but just looking for advice.

Going to disney with DH and our 4 kids soon. Our two older DS’s are 9 and 11 are generally well behaved and no problem. However we’ve got 7 yo twins (boy and girl) who I’m really worried about on the trip. Our DD has aspergers and whilst she presents as very ’normal’ in a lot of ways has a tendency to get fixated on things, wandering away or even running away when she sees exciting things or is overstimulated. In crowds she also has a tendency to bolt. Her twin brother whilst not diagnosed on the spectrum also likes to runaway from DH and I when out and will not listen to instructions or hold hands.
I have been thinking for sometime about using reins/harnesses with both twins when at disney, just to keep them close to us and safe, whilst not constantly having to shout at them for wandering but not confining them to a stroller. I actually bought a set for them each last week, but im still abit nervous about the judgement. Do people think this could work?
 

RunningGamer

Mouse Commando
Joined
Aug 23, 2019
Honestly, most people will be far more focused on herding their own kids, getting to their reservation (FP, dining, etc.), or wondering when the 3pm parade starts than they would about you trying to make sure your kids don't get lost and/or in to trouble accidentally. I know when I was younger my parents used something similar (mostly because DB and I learned how to slip the wrist ones) because we would do the same thing. If anything, I would think people would be relieved you're trying to find a good middle ground to help keep your kids safe and trying not to potentially disturb other families with their antics.

One very important thing though is definitely try to hone it into them that if they do get lost, look for people with the name tags. The cast members are very good at helping children find lost parents and if they have trouble finding you, they will take them to the Baby Care Center for that park. It's usually also where the First Aid Center is so if you look on the map on MDE and filter for Guest Services, it will be either a pacifier symbol or first aid cross.
 

StarSeven7

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 13, 2017
I used them when my kids were toddlers at WDW and it worked great! I had one that looked like a monkey and was a little backpack. The kids loved it and it gave me peace of mind! I didn’t notice anyone giving me dirty looks but honestly, if you have a child who would run off you would do the same!
 
  • sponica

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 16, 2017
    Now that I have my own kid, I'm far too distracted to notice what anyone else is doing.

    When I was kid free and it was bonkers slow, maybe I would have noticed?

    I am far more likely to notice a kid melting down and some parent going "WE PAID A LOT OF MONEY FOR THIS WE'RE STAYING UNTIL THE PARK CLOSES"...
     

    stephk1981

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2013
    Do what you need to do to give you peace of mind! Will you get dirty looks, I am going to say yes.....but who cares. You won't see the people again, and they don't know your situation. I would personally start the day off without the harnesses to see how the kids do. If it becomes a problem, use them. It's better than a lost child :) I hope you all have a magical trip
     
    Last edited:

    SG131

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2017
    You're much better off using a harness than having your kid end up in the gorilla enclosure. Yes, you will get some looks mainly from people who either don't have kids or have been lucky enough to not need it. Just ignore them, you know your kids best.
     

    Afabena

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 20, 2018
    I have boy/girl twins and have used harnesses in the past where I felt I needed to keep them close. They make them in a smaller style backpack that is not as obvious. You can store lighter things in there too to help ease the burden of carrying what you bring into the park. Don’t even think twice about what other people might think in the parks. Twins are hard.
     
  • NYCgrrl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 13, 2017
    Doesn't bother me and if it allows children some freedom and parents peace of mind seems sensible.
     

    Mariape

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 21, 2018
    To be honest I would be quite shocked to see 7 year olds on a leash in the park. If I asked my daughter around that age that she was going wear one I think she would’ve thrown a fit! I understand that you want to keep them safe, but surely they are too old for them? Did the older two wear reins as well at that age?
     

    Spunky946

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 9, 2011
    To be honest I would be quite shocked to see 7 year olds on a leash in the park. If I asked my daughter around that age that she was going wear one I think she would’ve thrown a fit! I understand that you want to keep them safe, but surely they are too old for them? Did the older two wear reins as well at that age?
    I second this. Not sure my now older kids would use a harness at age7. I’d probably try it with out them and try incentives to get them to stay with you and cooperate.
     

    Allie1348

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 19, 2019
    The harnesses I bought were the chest harness and reins type. The backpack ones seem as though the child wearing it could easily remove it, with the chest reins the buckles i think will make it harder to remove?

    I was thinking about trying to start the trip off without them and then using them if necessary but my worry is that they only have to run off once to come to harm.
     
  • Allie1348

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 19, 2019
    I realise they probably look quite old for them which is my worry basically. Has anyone used harnesses with a 7 year old before?
     

    Allie1348

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 19, 2019
    The older kids DCs 9 and 11 have worn reins before at airports but they were only 5 when they last wore them
     

    Betty Rohrer

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 19, 2010
    Name changed for this one as I know this can cause alot of strong feelings amongst members, but just looking for advice.

    Going to disney with DH and our 4 kids soon. Our two older DS’s are 9 and 11 are generally well behaved and no problem. However we’ve got 7 yo twins (boy and girl) who I’m really worried about on the trip. Our DD has aspergers and whilst she presents as very ’normal’ in a lot of ways has a tendency to get fixated on things, wandering away or even running away when she sees exciting things or is overstimulated. In crowds she also has a tendency to bolt. Her twin brother whilst not diagnosed on the spectrum also likes to runaway from DH and I when out and will not listen to instructions or hold hands.
    I have been thinking for sometime about using reins/harnesses with both twins when at disney, just to keep them close to us and safe, whilst not constantly having to shout at them for wandering but not confining them to a stroller. I actually bought a set for them each last week, but im still abit nervous about the judgement. Do people think this could work?
    if they are 7 and runners I would be worried about a false sense of security of the harness would give. at that age a hard pull of a runner could snap the plastic latch of leash. at least on the monkey one we used with 5 year old grandson. by end of trip it was not holding well
     

    westie55

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 24, 2015
    You might want to check on the disabilities board since your 7 year olds have some special needs/circumstances that do not apply to most other children their age. Parents of children on the spectrum who have real experience with "runners" past toddler age are probably a better resource as many others haven't been in your shoes so it's easy to say "7 is too old" when looking through the lens of a typically developing child. I would question the strength of a 7 year old who tried to run; I could imagine that could be physically hard on the person trying to restrain the child. Best of luck.
     

    Allie1348

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 19, 2019
    We tried out the harnesses today. The harneses i had already bought were the chest reins type with buckles to tighten the straps to the child’s chest with a lead attached to the back. Someone told me these were the most babyish of the harnesses available but the backpack ones looked very easy for either of the twins to get out of.

    We went to the a shopping centre today, and told both DD and DS that we would be trying their harnesses out. They were put on after we got out of the car and came off as we returned to the car. DD made quite a fuss and it was quite a hassle to get the reins on her. Both whined a fair bit at first but got used to them after an hour or so. They both enjoyed not having to hold hands actually! The harnesses proved useful a couple of times when they tried to run in the direction of shiny toy display etc.
    Wore them for about 3 hours in all and would probably say it was a success. Did get a couple of nasty comments about why 7 year olds were in reins 😡, and tbh they have bothered me a bit.
     

    lostprincess_danie

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 16, 2019
    Did get a couple of nasty comments about why 7 year olds were in reins 😡, and tbh they have bothered me a bit.
    How horrible. The reasons you gave for using the harnesses are valid concerns. It’s like some people can not even comprehend that a parent knows what’s best for their own kids. I hope whatever you decide about the reins that your trip goes well!
     

    TwinkleKS

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 18, 2013
    Long term, if you are not already, you need to work with an occupational therapist or other like professional on additional strategies. My children have their own challenges and I have had to deal with runners before. Leashes just aren't a long term strategy.
     

    Allie1348

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 19, 2019
    Long term, if you are not already, you need to work with an occupational therapist or other like professional on additional strategies. My children have their own challenges and I have had to deal with runners before. Leashes just aren't a long term strategy.
    Only DD works with an occupational therapist. DS dosent have any sort of diagnosis. DD’s OT has said many children with dyspraxia do use reins until they develop better spacial awareness and control. They do work on impulsive behaviour and road safety etc together but it can be a slow process

    Yes they definitely need to learn at some point, and we are trying to teach them all the time but I would rather they learnt slower and were safe on reins than something dreadful happen. Feel as though with the reins we can introduce the twins to more teachable situations, rather than subconsciously avoiding them before we had them.
     

    lorenae

    I'm going to Disney World!
    Joined
    Sep 12, 2015
    If it works for you, then you should absolutely do what works for your family.

    I will say that seeing a 3 year old in one will not get many lifted eyebrows, but 7 year olds probably will.

    If you know this is the best thing for them, then don't let that bother you. Keep your kids safe.

    Now comes my advise. :) I'm on the spectrum myself, but when I was a kid we were just "odd". We didn't recognize anything except "sp-ed" and normal, but with an IQ of 172, special ed was not appropriate. I skipped two grades but couldn't relate to kids or other people at all.

    Now I'm 55, and "eccentric". I have two grown children (one has a few issues, but lives a very great full life. The other is "normal"). I have two grandchildren.

    Looking back, my parents had no idea what to do with me (OCD, ASD, likely genius savant), but had they harnessed me I would probably have lost much of my confidence and felt even more ostracized.

    Is there any way you can practice going to Disney? Like in a game? And role play? And then let it be known that if you go XXXX feet away from mom/dad/brother then we will try the harness? As an undiagnosed special needs person myself for the last 50 years, I'm incredibly sensitive to this, and wish educators in my time (and my parents) could have understood this.

    Your child's safety is paramount, and if that won't work that's fine. But I'd try a few other things first.
     



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