A child goes missing every 40 seconds according to The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. To put that into perspective, by the time you get done reading this post a minimum of three children will be separated or lost from their parents. That’s a scary thing to think about as a mom.
What if it was your child? Would they know what to do?
Teach Your Lost Child How To Get Found Quickly
Teaching our children what to do if they get lost or separated from us is just as important as teaching them about stranger danger and fire safety. So why is it that this important lesson is often over looked?
Thankfully there are just four simple steps your child needs to learn to make finding them easier and quicker.
Stop And Stay Put. Preschoolers and young children need to be taught to stop moving as soon as they realize they are lost. Reassure them that you will find them but they need to help you do that by staying where they are. I’m helping my boys remember this by pretending to be a tree and “plant your feet”.
Teach Your Child To Call Out Your First Name. If your family is at the zoo, a museum, or store chances are there are lots of other kids and lots of other moms. Yelling “Mommy” is going to easily get lost in a sea of other children wanting their mother’s attention. However, having your lost child yell out your first name will quickly help them stand out in the crowd.
Ask Another Mom For Help. Experts suggest teaching your child to ask another mom with kids for help. They are much more likely to take action as they can instinctually identify with your situation, losing a child is their worst nightmare too. They will be more willing to help and be more committed to finding you than a non-parent or even a man would be. Unfortunately in today’s society men are hesitant to help in these situations because they are worried they may be seen as a predator.
Looking for a mom instead of a policeman will get them help faster because if there are other kids in the area then there is probably a mom nearby. There are many more moms around than a police officer or security guard, and the few that are in the area can’t simply be everywhere at once.
Teach Your Child What To Say. Being lost is a very scary situation for everyone, especially when your only 4 foot tall. But knowing what to say and how to ask for help can give your lost child a better chance of getting back to you quickly. Teaching your child to say “Please help me, I’m lost”, or “I can’t find my mommy please help me” will spring that other mom into action. Your child should be able to give some very important information to any adult trying to assist them including: their full name, your full name, the full name of at least one of the adults they are with, phone number and if need be their home address including city and state.
Finding time to talk about how to be safe in your daily life and what to do if your child gets lost will help prepare them should they ever need to know what to do. Spending time roll playing will help give them the confidence to follow through with the important lessons you have taught them. Spend time reassuring them that if lost, you will find them. This will reinforce that even when separated you won’t give up the search.
This is the first post in my new series, Summer Safety. While many of these kid safety tips can be used any time of year, with families hitting the road for vacation over the next couple of months I felt now was a great time for these safety tip posts. Check back each week for a new Summer Safety tip.
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