Re: September 2012 Preschool Updates
posted at 9/14/2012 8:26 PM EDT
First of all, remember that it is a 99.999 percent chance that your kid is walking around the aisle looking for you while you are walking around the other side looking for them like in a Pink Panther cartoon, as opposed to anything bad happening. Definitely enlist an employee to help look and/or watch the door.
This may sound obvious, but make sure your kid knows YOUR first name and dad's first name (and last if it's different from theirs) and knows it's OK to call out to you by name if they get separated or can't see you... Half the people in the grocery store are Mom or Dad to someone, but there aren't going to be twenty Amy's or Michael's and it will get your attention faster. Also, if they really get lost, they can tell the checkout clerk or security person your name and they can page Jane Doe instead of Bobby's Mom.
Also get them used to talking to "strangers" in the sense of chat with neighbors--let them greet and be greeted by the lady crossing paths walking the dog, or the fellow ahead of you in the grocery store line, the checkout clerk or the guy behind the desk at the post office.
Instead of "Don't talk to strangers" teach them we don't go on about personal information (I say first name is OK but others may disagree) or let anyone try to take you anywhere or talk to you without your grownup. If you recall a couple of years ago a kid was lost in a national park forest on a hike and he didn't answer to the rescuers calling out to him because they were "strangers" and ended up spending two more days alone.
They probably aren't going to be lost enough to need the address, but they ought to know your cell phone number. Knowing the home number isn't going to help you at the mall.
If you're another parent and you see a kid on the loose, please say or do something. Don't scare the kid or embarrass them or Mom, but maybe head them off at the pass or alert an employee. It can happen to anyone and just about every kid does it at least once (I kind of wonder about the people who brag that their kid has never ever and would never, ever do that...either kid is too clingy or they're in for a rude awakening because one day Perfect Child is going to be halfway across the mall) I do admit one day a mom was going around calling for Marco (who was obviously hiding in the racks somewhere) and I was absolutely dying to yell out Polo! but I figured she was on her last nerve already.