Yes, I'm the mom with the kid on the loose. My 3 year old has a mind of her own and I'm too tired to chase her down and keep her attached to my hip every second of the day. However, there are times I need to make a trip to the mall, and getting her to listen to me and stay by my side the entire time is like trying to nail jello to the wall. What makes matters worse is I've told my daughter she's a big girl now, that she's a big sister and can do more things then a baby can.
She now thinks she can do any and everything her little heart desires.
Recently I decided to take the girls to the . With the mall being relatively deserted, it's a good place to practice teaching the rules of staying together while in public places. Although I have not lost a child to this point, I do fear I will. I figure the more kids you add to the family, the more likely you are to lose one and I've already doubled my chances for disaster.
Losing a child while out in public is one of my biggest fears. I'm sure it is for many other parents. So, what can we do to keep our little ones safe and by our side?
- Keep children with you at all times while shopping. Be strict with holding hands or holding onto the stroller while cruising the mall.
- Accompany and supervise children in public facilities, including restrooms.
- Have a plan in case you become separated, including a pre-designated spot to meet.
- Teach children to look for people who can help, such as a uniformed security officer, salesperson or mother with children.
- Remind kids to remain in the area where they become separated.
- Dress kids in clothing displaying their first or last names.
- Expect supervision from store personnel. It's not their job to watch your kids.
- Go shopping or attend a public event with a child if you feel you can't make their safety your number one priority.
- Drop off older children at a mall or public place without agreeing on a clear plan for picking them up.
Wherever you go it's always best to let your child know what to expect so the experience isn't strange or intimidating. While sitting in the car I always go over the rules of behavior before we leave. I also make my daughter repeat what I say to ensure she understands what I said. Repetition can be an annoyance but it helps to set the rules so your child will understand how to behave and stay safe while in public.
Repetition and stressing the importance of safety can keep our children by our sides and out of harms way.