It is every parent’s nightmare to have her child get lost. This fear isn’t unfounded because we read stories of children getting lost in parks, schools, malls and surely, parents of those children did not will for it to happen. To make things worse, we hear of stories of kidnapping incidents more frequently these days.
The best way to deal with such a situation is to prevent it from happening. Take all necessary precautions to ensure that your child does not get lost whenever you step out of your door – whether traveling or just taking a quick trip to the supermarket or the mall.
Angelica Paculan Andal, School Director of Family Partners Learning Center, gives us tips on how to prevent ending up in such a predicament, and tips on what to do in case it happens:
Every time there is an opportunity to discuss safety, take it. When there is a kidnapping incident that they hear about, take the chance to remind them to never talk to strangers, or at least be discerning - regardless of whether that person is male, female, young or old. If you see this happening, approach your child immediately and facilitate interaction. Andal notes, however, to be careful in overemphasizing the situation lest the child becomes too paranoid and afraid.
Before leaving the house, always talk to your child about how important it is to stay close to you, your husband or the yaya, moreso when you’re traveling abroad where English is not the common language. Your child needs to understand that the people in the country you are going to may not know how to speak English so if they get lost, the people around them might not understand the questions they ask in their attempt to find their way back.
Running away from you is a big no-no. In the first instance it happens, you must immediately take your child and give him a stern reprimand. Your child has to understand that you are serious about this and it’s a non-negotiable rule. Impose sanctions immediately should it happen again.
Have your child memorize your full name, not just Mommy or your first name. This will be very helpful when you need to be paged in a mall. For your older children, have them memorize your mobile phone.
Every time you go to a mall or a supermarket, show your child the people they can approach in case they get lost - security guards, customer service personnel, etc. Tell your child to approach them for help, especially when a stranger starts talking to him or her.