To Parents: Here’s What You Should Teach Your Child About Getting Lost
No child like the idea of getting separated from a parent whom he had formed an attachment to. Typically referred to as “separation anxiety,” a child would always prefer his parent/guardian to be around lest he felt abandoned and everything feels strange.
You can just imagine how a child would have felt if he gets lost wherein there’s no guarantee of getting re-acquainted with the parent. If anything, the experience is emotionally harrowing and traumatizing which no child should experience at any point in his life.
According to the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, at least one child goes missing every minute across the US alone. A small percentage of that statistics suggests that the missing kids were as a result of kidnapping and were never returned to their families. For any loving parent, such a report can be very disturbing, particularly towards those who have a pending case of a missing child.
Luckily, the statistics also suggest that a wide majority of lost kids are simply as a result of getting temporarily separated from their guardian or parent. This means that the prospect of ever finding your missing kid back is better this way than one as a result of randomly getting nabbed by a stranger. The chances are probably better still if your child is at least mentally-equipped enough to know what to do should he be placed in the same predicament.
As a parent, it is your duty to teach your child the basic knowledge that will help him overcome untoward difficulties, such as the case of getting lost.
Teach your child to stay put
Having a child that is both missing and mobile are two bad combinations if the means to finding him requires backtracking steps from which the separation was first noticed.
It’s understandable that any child will get very overwhelmed in the idea of being left unto himself and that moving around to find a familiar face is a possible intuition. Instead of encouraging the idea, do the complete opposite: teach your child to stay put for him to be found.
Not only by staying that you get to easily track your child should you put the effort to find him, even passers-by—genuinely concerned individuals, hopefully—would easily notice if a child is separated from his parent by being in the same place for too long.
Furthermore, when faced with a stranger, teach the child not to follow. One good way of doing so is to teach the child not to follow anyone at all without the parent’s actual permission about it.
Teach your kid your real name
Many children knew their parents based on their roles in the household, not their actual names. Preschoolers especially are guilty of this issue. One major problem with this scenario, however, is that lost kids could not point to their parents when found by concerned citizens or authorities.
Typically, when asked who their guardian is, lost kids tend to point to “mommy” which, in general, could be anyone. Intuitively, teaching your child whom to refer to by name in case of emergency is one of the most crucial survival tips you could impart to your child.
Teach your child to ask for help from other mommies
There is a serious flaw to the old teaching of not letting children talk to strangers. In case of the absence of the parent, a kid is in a desperate position to seek help from anybody.
Instead of teaching the child to just be mummed in his isolation, instruct him to seek help but particularly towards other mommies who would share the same compassion as his biological parent.
Make safety topic discussions a daily habit
While basically helpless by themselves, kids need not be taught to just rely on others for their safety. They must be made aware of the possible dangers that are in store out there and how they could avoid them. Bit by bit, a concerned parent can easily teach their child this topic by making it a daily but subtle discussion.
A simple discussion about survival tips about the issue of getting temporarily separated from the guardian in public tends to stick with the child’s learning, especially when repeated across a span of time. It tends to get rote over time.
For instance, constantly reminding your child how he should behave on the event that he got lost equips him with a knowledge that will save him from future problem should the mishap occurs.
Role-play it with your child
Kids easily learn stuff if gone through with fun. Taking advantage of this idea, you can incorporate some helpful tips to a child about what to do when get temporarily separated from his guardian in public.
For a kid, role-playing a scenario where he is lost may seem like an innocent game as any. But underneath it, all is a lesson that should keep the child free from the pain of getting permanently lost from the family.
How the game will play out is, of course, solely at the discretion of you as a parent and playmate. As scary as the sound of the theme may be, the better approach to the roleplay is by focusing on how a child can find his parent rather than the more darker tone of fending off suspicious strangers.
For starters, you can always initiate the play at home so as to set a very secure environment for the child. Eventually, make the experience more realistic by setting it outdoors where the child is given the first-hand experience of being left unto himself in public.
To put some emphasis on the child asking help from other mothers, you can always tag along a fellow mother and friend who will act as the source of help should the child asks for it.
Other Safety Ideas
While you may rest on the idea that a child is equipped enough to survive temporarily getting apart from the parent, kids would remain kids which means that your teaching may not always work as intended. To compensate, you can also apply necessary measures which will point the child directly to you in case of being lost and found by a random good stranger.
Write your personal or home contact number directly to your child’s shoe. Better yet, make your child aware of it which he could use in time of emergency.
Equip your child with literal accessories which identify them as a person and those related to him. It could be anything: bracelet, tags, etc.
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