Losing sight of your child, no matter how briefly it is, can make any parent panic. And as scary as it is for you, it’s even more frightening for them. So before you venture out to your next crowded event or location, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure that if your child is separated from you, you can find each other again quickly.
Here are the top 5 things your kids need to know now, should they get lost.
1. Teach them your phone number and name
Memorizing a phone number is the quickest and easiest way for your child to find you should they get lost. Creating a song or a chant out of the numbers is often helpful, especially for younger ones. Sing it during a meal, as you’re unbuckling them from their car seat or putting them to bed as a nightly ritual. Kids under the age of 3 only know you as “Mommy” or “Daddy”. Make them practice saying your name while you are teaching them your phone number.
2. Instruct them to stay where they are
Kids should stay in the same spot once they realise they’ve become separated. If they find themselves in a busy pedestrian path, traffic, or are close to a large body of water, let them know that they should move to the closest safe space and wait. This will allow you to retrace your steps, leading you to your little one. Explain to your child that they shouldn’t panic once they realise they’ve established they’re lost, but rather to stop, make sure they’re standing in a visible place and wait for an adult for help.The key is to stay in the same spot until they are found.
3. Tell them to ask a safe adult for help
The chance of a police officer appearing just as your child figures out that they are lost is slim. It is much more likely that another mother with children of her own will be around, and they’re generally a child’s best bet for finding safe help, Once your child spots a mum, they should approach her and explain that they’re lost and need help finding their parent. They can either tell them, or show them your number and tell them your complete name.
4. Make a designated meeting spot
Whenever you visit a crowded place like an amusement park, the first thing you should do is find a meeting point where you will go if you get separated. This works well when your child is older, but when they are younger, tell them to speak with an employee and request assistance getting to the arranged meeting place.
5. Shout your name
Tell your kids that if they they can’t see you, then they should call your name out loudly. They should call your full name and not “Mpmmy” or “Daddy”. Tell them that it is fine to shout your name out loudly even if they feel embarrassed or if they are in a place like the library. Shouting out your name is safer than staying quiet. Most predators will look for children who can be led away unnoticed. A shouting child attracts attention and will usually be avoided.