I lost my daughter and I didn’t know what to do. This was my frightening reality two months ago. I shared the details from this day with you in my post from last month. At the end of my post I explained that I am still bothered because I am not sure what the “right” thing is to do when you can’t find your child. Further more, what do I teach my children to do when they can’t find the adult they are with?
A huge shout out and thank you to our readers! I was overwhelmed with the feedback I received. Also, maybe more than a little bit relieved to find out that I am not the only one who has experienced not being able to find their child.
I am now armed with some great advice on this subject and I’m happy to share it with you all.
So suggestions I received…
Steps to take before an outing:
- Establish a plan for “lost parents.” I was told by a reader who worked at a large theme park that they use the term “lost parents” to take some of the stress off the child. Often times the child is more willing to cooperate if they are helping to find their parents.
- Make sure your children know your first and last name and, if old enough, your phone number.
- Attach your name and phone number to the child somehow if they are not old enough – temporary tattoo, sticker on back, lanyard with a contact card.
- Dress alike – all in the party wear the same color for easy identification.
Once at your location:
- Take a group photo – now you have a current photo of everyone and what they’re wearing.
- Establish a meeting place – an easy to find location for all members of the group.
- Review the “lost parents plan.”
- Point out employees of the park/event/store and remind children that they can look for someone in uniform with a name tag for help.
- If there are no employees, remind children who you trust for them to turn to for help. For our family that means first find someone with a uniform (police officers, fire fighters…) and if there are none to be found, a mom with children their same age.
What to do once you realize your child is lost:
- Look at the time or set a stopwatch on your phone so you can keep track of how long it’s been since you’ve seen your child.
- Quick scan the area and ask friends for help look.
- If you’re unable to locate your child after just a few minutes of searching, find an employee and show them what your child is wearing. Request that either the doors be closed until your child is found or manned with employees making sure your child does not exit.
I hope that this brings light to a topic that maybe you haven’t discussed (like we hadn’t). Or helps you formulate a plan that works well for your family.
Thank you, thank you! I wish I could have added this suggestion to my post! However, I will certainly add it to the conversations I have with my girls!
I love this post. One other suggestion–I lost my 3-year-old who wandered away in the clothes in a department store. Later I figured out from her that she DID hear me calling her, but I think she was too frightened and maybe embarrassed that she didn’t have the courage or presence of mind to follow the direction of my voice or call out to me. If it happened again, I would walk through the store calling out “Frances? If you can hear me say ‘Hi Mommy!'” Giving her the vocabulary might have saved many minutes of panic and intervention from store employees.