Yesterday evening I was walking towards a grocery store as a 3 or 4-year-old boy came out the door. He shouted “Mom!” and when nobody answered tried to go back in the store. However, he wasn’t heavy enough to activate the automatic door and was about to cry when I offered to help him find his mom. We went back into the grocery store and asked a cashier to have his mom paged. Soon his mom appeared with her cart and called out for him. He ran to be joyfully reunited with her.
Although this story has a happy ending, it’s easy to imagine how it could turn out poorly. Although as parents we try to keep track of our children, children do get lost. What can you do to reduce the chance that your children will get lost and help them make wise choices if they do become lost?
- Give your children responsibility for keeping track of you. They are less likely to get lost when they have this responsibility.
- Let them know you will never leave a store without them so they should always stay in the store if they are lost.
- Explain how to locate an adult who can help them.
- Teach your children your first name, not just Mom or Dad
- If you have young children, consider using a harness where you can hold onto a strap.
- If your child is lost, there are some important steps to take in the first 24 hours.
I always told my children to find another "mommy". I figured another mother would be more likely to help my children get back to me unharmed. They knew to stay in the store and in the area where I lost them and I would come to find them. They know, if someone tries to make them leave the store, scream, kick, knock items off shelves, bite, scratch,anything to attract attention to the fact that this person it not their parent. You must talk with kids and have a plan. You can't be too careful these days.
Thanks for your excellent ideas Laura! I also told my kids to make a huge scene if a stranger was ever trying to take them.
When I saw the little boy, Gunnar, outside the grocery store at night I realized how easy it would have been for a stranger to convince him to get in a car to "go find his mom". Leaving the store definitely opened up more possible safety problems for Gunnar.
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