A month ago I was at the playground for a quick catch-up with my friend and her toddler. As we darted between the swings and the slide and the jungle gym, I noticed one striking difference between the two of us: Unlike me, my friend was crazy relaxed about her son’s whereabouts. In fact, as we talked by the swings, he was climbing one of the play structures tens of feet away. When we got to the slide, her son hovered at the top, while she hung back on the ground. (What if he suddenly runs off? I pondered internally, my own helicopter-y style bubbling up.)
But that’s when the magic happened: Anytime he came close to wandering out of range, my pal would simply call out, “Jack, where’s Mama? Eyes on Mama—make sure you can see Mama!” Miraculously, this simple command stopped her son in his tracks.
An invisible child harness? It sure felt like it. So, how did she pull it off? Here’s the scoop.