By Dr. Kim Grengs, Parent Coach
If you have lost your child, feel comforted that you are not alone! This is my story of how I lost my 3 year old son in a public place. I also share tips to help prevent this from happening to you.
My Story Of How I Lost My Child
I have three children and it was my middle child’s 6th birthday party. We went to a Minor League baseball game with many of his friends. My husband was supposed to be helping me watch our three children and the other boys for the birthday party, but as we were tailgating with hotdogs and cake before the game, my husband was approached to participate in a contest to win a free night stay at a local casino.
He had to “hang onto a wall” or keep touching the wall until the end of the game. He agreed to do this, which left me in charge of my three children along with the kids at the birthday party. I thought, no problem, since I was a teacher and had handled groups of children all the time.
Towards the end of the game, while we were all having a restroom break, my three year old wandered off. I was terrified and was looking everywhere.
I truly panicked in that moment. After a few minutes, which seemed like forever, I found a police officer and with his help found my three year old with another police officer.
With almost 1,000 children a day getting lost from their parent for 60 minutes or more, it shows that it happens to the best of us. It is also smart to prepare ahead of time for a situation where one of your children should ever get lost. These are things I should have done before we even left for the game.
BEFORE YOU GO:
- Make sure your child knows their full name and a phone number to contact you. You can make a bracelet for the wrist or ankle in case they have not memorized it.
- Be aware of what your child is wearing. In the case of having many children with you, they could all wear the same color so you know what to look for.
- Practice with each child what to do if they should get lost. Role play different scenarios so they know what to do.
TIPS FOR THE ADULT WITH THE CHILD:
- Limit the number of children you have with you so that you are not outnumbered adults to children. It should be a reasonable amount.
- Have a plan for different situations: bathroom breaks, getting food, etc.
- Decide on a meeting place in case someone does get lost. Go to the meeting place so that all the children know where it is located.
- Have something that marks the place so it is easy to find.
- Have a buddy system where each child has another friend with them.
- Know where the entrance and exits are located.
Losing my child was one of the most frightening times in my life. I hope these tips will help you when traveling with children to a public place.
Sometimes it helps to have someone that will listen and has a different perspective. Parent coaching can help you with these challenges and provide support for you and ultimately your child. Learn more and schedule a coaching session today!
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