Bolting, also known as “elopement”, is when the child inappropriately leaves the immediate area and without having permission to do so. Bolting can occur within a home (such as running off to another room in the house) or in the community (such as running down the street or away from the parent when in a store). Bolting can pose significant dangers when out in the community because children often are unaware of safety concerns, such as car traffic or strangers, when bolting.
Teaching the child community safety rules and practicing how to ask for permission before leaving a parent’s side can reduce instances of bolting. Using game play is a fun way to teach the child how to “stop” and “wait” appropriately. Initial practice, and a lot of it, in safe environments is very important before trying out in the community, and adult supervision is a key component in treating bolting behaviors.
In this lesson, strategies for how to address bolting are discussed.