Tips To Teach Your Child If They Get Lost In A Crowd


Tips To Teach Your Child If They Get Lost In A Crowd

Well. After almost five years and two whole kids later, it finally happened to me. I lost one of my kids in a crowd. And not just any old crowd — rather one that was extremely busy in the middle of downtown Chattanooga. We were at the United Way Block Party celebrating its 100th anniversary. They did a fantastic job at the event, with stations all along the street. There was tons of food, free shirts, dancers and performances, a bunch of activities for the kiddos, and countless people. It was organized chaos and a great time for all. One activity, in particular, that caught the short attention span of my two-year-old was a bubble station set up towards the entrance to the festivities by the check-in table.

As the evening went on, we — my husband and I, our two sons, my sister-in-law, and my niece — found ourselves at the basketball goals on the other end of the block. We were all having a blast, when suddenly, I looked over and realized my baby boy was nowhere in sight. I immediately asked if anyone had seen him, and that is when everyone began spinning in circles like little dogs chasing their tails, screaming his name. If you have ever experienced this, you know that time stands still. It’s like in the movies where the character moves in a daze as their background spins.

It was an out-of-body experience; what seemed like an eternity was probably about two minutes.

Immediately, all the adults broke out in various directions, desperately searching for our wandering toddler. Minutes later, my husband came running down the street, cradling our feisty boy whose face was stained with tears because he was pretty scared, too. We realized that as everyone was shooting hoops, he decided to run back down the street to those darn bubbles. I guess when he looked up and realized we were not there with him, he began to panic, too.

I try so hard to keep my kids in the closest proximity and have taught them to grab my leg or each other’s hand in crowds. However, right there in broad daylight, among three adults, he was gone in the blink of an eye. I pray we are never in that situation again, but life happens, so if we are, this is what I have shared with my children.

1. Stay there.

I have told my boys to stay put in the event they are lost because I will always come back to where I saw them last. If they set out to find me, we could both continually miss each other.

2. Label items with identification.

Their names are written inside their jacket or bag at all times. However, it would be wise to take it a step further and add your name as the parent. Nowadays, they have so many choices like backpack tags, identification cards, stickers, and more. My personal favorites are these waterproof bracelets, but the buttons are a close second. Each of these is pretty simple and cheap but can be invaluable in extenuating circumstances.

3. Look for “helper” people.

This one is probably the biggest of all for us because I know it is sticking with my four-year-old. He randomly mentions it, so I know the process is going through his little curious mind. He knows to stay put but to look around for a policeman, fireman, or a lady with little bitty kids like him. Are there safe men and dads out there? Yes. Are there crazy women and moms out there? Heck yes. However, in a crowded space, I feel comfortable with my kid telling someone who fits the bill that he is lost. Most mama bears are protective of all kids, not just their own, so I feel good that another mother would help this one reunite with her child.

4. Talk to your little littles.

I had gone over all of these points with my four-year-old, but never saw the need to do so yet with my toddler. I mean he’d always be right there next to his mama, right? Fun can turn into fear swiftly, so get the conversation started with your tiny littles, too. Break it down so they will understand, but never underestimate what they can comprehend.

5. Practice.

Once you have drilled all these items into your kids, quiz them. Ensure they know your safety plan, their full name, how to spell it, and your full name. My boys know that I am mommy, but they are also well aware that my name is Amanda Jordan. It is also wise to teach them your telephone  number as well.

These sorts of situations — getting separated from your child — are the ones we think can happen to anyone except us. Well, I am here to tell you that it most certainly can. Talking through and practicing what to do now might help alleviate some of the panic and worry for both you and your little ones if you find yourselves in an unfortunate circumstance in the future.