It’s easier than you might think. Just a few seconds is all it can take to lose sight of your child. Or even scarier, each parent may assume the other parent has the child with them, but instead he’s wandering alone. The more children you have, the more difficult it can be to keep everyone together when you’re out and about – especially when you’re outnumbered.
My older two sons have very different personalities. The younger of the two generally won’t leave my sight in an unfamiliar place. When he has lost sight of me – even if I am still watching him – he immediately stops and looks around frantically he sees me. If we are walking together, he’ll ask me to hold his hand so we “won’t get losed.”
My oldest is basically the exact opposite. He’s been known to take off and do his own thing on more than one occasion. He wiggles out of hand-holding, promising he’ll stay with us, but if something catches his eye he can’t help himself. Even though I always swore I wouldn’t use one, the baby leash came in handy for a few years with him.
I remember the first time I “lost” him. We were at a local kids museum, and both boys were interested in doing different activities. I was trying to keep up with them the best that I could by myself, but eventually I lost track of my oldest. My heart raced as I circled around looking for him. I checked the bathroom – women and men – and noted all of the exit doors. I quickly found an employee and gave his description, and she got on her radio to let everyone know. It was only a couple minutes later that they found him, happily playing by himself in a corner that I had already looked in.
That wasn’t the last time he did that to me. We lost him briefly at Sea World – he had darted into the arcade while we were walking by it – and most recently at a huge event in Las Vegas called Touch a Truck. That time, he hopped out of the back of a UPS truck in the few seconds it took us to walk around it to grab him and he ran off to climb into another truck. That was by far the scariest for me.
There’s a few things you can do with your child to avoid this from happening to you in an unfamiliar place:
- When you first arrive, set up a place to meet if anyone gets separated. Make sure it is somethings a child will be able to easily navigate to.
- Get your children familiar with people who can help them such as employees, police officers, and security guards.
- ID them with a bracelet, sticker or temporary tattoo. Make sure to put your cell phone number on it so that you can be easily reached.
- Communicate with your spouse. Clear statements like, “I’m taking Henry to the bathroom, we will be right back. Can you stay with Charlie?”
- Don’t panic. If you do lose track of a child, the absolute first thing you should do is contact an employee. They will most likely have some sort of system in place that is much more efficient than the parents have.
Would you ever leash your child?