If you have kids, it’s more than likely that you’ve experienced that blood chilling moment where you turn around and your toddler who was at your feet a moment ago is GONE.
Usually, the toddler has just bent over to check out a worm on the ground or scooted over to the other side of the cart to get a better look at something, but those moments of looking for a lost kiddo can seem to stretch on for an eternity.
Even though most cases of being “lost” only last for a few seconds, it is important to teach kids what they should do if they ever do become lost and can’t find the adult that they were with.
We have a few rules that we’ve taught our kids through the years. We’ve found that these 4 things have helped open up a great conversation with both of our kids about safety in public and truly put my mind at ease when traveling with the kids as well.
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Your child needs to know your name and number in case they get lost
One of the most important things you child needs to know in case they get lost is your name. If some one tries to help them by paging you over an intercom it won’t be helpful if they can only say “can mommy come to the front of the store, please?”. Make sure your littles know your first and last name and phone number!
Even toddlers can learn a phone number, we came up with a few fun ways to teach kids your phone number and even have a free printable to help them practice here – How to teach your child your phone number.
If you get lost, look for a mom – NOT a uniform
This advice might seem a little weird, shouldn’t kids try to find a police officer or fireman if they are lost? Yes and no. I prefer to teach my kids to look for another MOM (a nice lady with kids) than to try to find some one in uniform. Uniforms can be tricky for kids. In most situations where a young child might get lost, there usually isn’t a police officer handy. Unless you happen to be in the grocery store at the same time as one, your child could be frantically searching for a police officer for a long time. Uniforms can also be VERY confusing. At amusement parks the security officers aren’t dressed in familiar police uniforms and it can be hard for a kid to discern which uniforms are genuine and which ones are not. The same goes for traveling overseas. This is why we always tell our kids to look for a mommy if they are lost.
Teach kids to stay in place if they get lost
Kids know they aren’t supposed to get lost, so they usually try to fix the situation immediately and go wandering off to find you. Make sure your kids know to stay where they are and that you will come back to THEM, so they don’t end up wandering farther away from you. Tell them that as long as they are in a safe place to stay put so mommy and daddy can come back to them. If there is a bench to sit on or a chair to find we always make sure they don’t have to root themselves in the exact spot on the floor where they realized they were lost, but rather stay in the general area out of the way and somewhere that they can safely wait for help.
If your child is in the toddler stage and can’t quite be trusted to remember names or numbers in a stressful situation, I highly recommend these temporary tattoos.
We have used them at the beach with our toddlers but they would be great for trips to the amusement park with kids or other places with huge crowds. Get a package here!
Does your child know what to do if they get lost? Start working on these tips today so you are ready for wherever your Summer travels might take you!
More travel and safety tips for kids:
- 4 safety rules all kids should know by age 4
- Car seat safety tip all parents need to know about (and how to fix it)
- 10 essentials for a beach trip with toddlers
- How to pack for two kids in one bag
While we’ve found these tips to be super helpful when it comes to helping kids know what to do when they get lost, I hope your kiddos never end up needing them!