I am a mother to 2 boys ages 11 and 4.5 years. I have never been at such a loss that I needed to ask for help on a forum level. I am scared out of my wits because of my toddler's inability to comprehend how dangerous his behavior is.
Recently, we've had a couple instances where my son left the house without asking permission and wandered off. Fortunately, I live in a very small, safe community. He walked himself to the playground that is directly next door to my house. However, he is still crossing a road and is still out there alone! Of course it wasn't long before I discovered he wasn't in the house anymore and found him within minutes. I did my best to explain to him how incredibly dangerous it was to do that both because of cars and because someone could take him home with them instead. I explained how badly he'd scared me. He apologized sincerely and promised not to do it again. This has always been enough to stop a behavior in him that I didn't like. I thought he understood.
It happened again. While visiting his paternal grandparents his father walked 3 houses down to grab a pizza. He told our son that he'd be right back and his grandparents were in there and Peyton said ok. As his father was turning to leave the pizza place, he sees our son standing on the sidewalk outside. He'd dressed himself, gotten shoes on and decided to meet his Daddy at the pizza shop. Thank goodness there were no streets to cross but this is a busy road and not quite as safe a town as the one we live in.
We've taught him to look both ways before crossing a road and he always did it no problem. Until recently. We've been walking and he'd be a little ahead and when he got to a road, he kept running. Right across the road! Even after a close call with a car he just smiles when we talk about it. He smiles when we talk about any of this. He thought it was funny that he "scared the crap out of Daddy".
How do I get my 4 year old to understand that his behavior is dangerous and serious!? Please help.