Getting Separated in Public
Losing your child in a busy shopping centre or street or is every parent’s nightmare. Young kids have no sense of direction and are easily distracted, but take a few precautions and you can enjoy the experience.
·Encourage junior to hold on to your hand, shopping trolley, or use a child harness.
·As she gets older, teach her to recite her name, address and telephone number.
·Sew her name inside her clothes.
·Discuss what she should do if she gets lost. Tell her to stay put and shout your name loudly a few times. If she can’t see you, tell her to ask for help from a grown-up with children or a shop worker, such as a person behind the counter.
Toddlers and preschoolers are naturally trusting and curious and don’t grasp the consequences of potentially dangerous situations. They also easily respond to adults’ attempts to be kind or supportive. When it comes to strangers, concentrate on one easy-to-understand rule, that is, she must never go anywhere on her own, or with someone else, even a friend, without checking first that it’s all right with you (or her caregiver).
Discuss safety and strangers with your children — parents are often surprised to hear from their kids that only ugly creatures in storybooks are considered dangerous. Teach children not to help strangers look for lost puppies, accept gifts or sweets, or get in a car with someone they do not know, or even someone they do know, if the journey is not planned. Role-play with them and keep repeating the messages to reinforce the lessons. This can mean going to a shopping centre and having your child ask for help from a shop assistant.
·Make sure your kids know who, when, where and how to get help. For example, they should know their name, address, and telephone number, how to phone the police, and also who will pick them up from school daily and what after-school activities are planned.
·As she gets older (about 3 or 4), chat to her about what behaviour in another person might make her uncomfortable. Also, highlight to her that secrets that feel wrong need to be shared with you, and that you’ll never be angry with her, whatever she tells you.
The moment you open the door, your mini-dynamo charges out, desperate to let off steam! There’re too many reports on children getting injured in road accidents while crossing the street. Young children find it impossible to judge how fast a car is travelling and even how close it is, but your little one isn’t too young to start learning about traffic.
Teach her the basics of road safety as soon as she starts to walk. Every time you cross a road together, for example, explain, “Stop, look and listen”. Encourage her to press the button herself at traffic lights and wait for the green man. And show her good places to cross, such as where she can be seen by drivers and has a clear view along the road. Bear in mind though, that children don’t develop the skills they need to cross a road alone until they’re at least 8.
·Always hold her hand when crossing the road.
·Don’t let her run on ahead of you, as drivers in cars backing out of driveways won’t see her.
·Make sure she walks on the side of the pavement that is away from the traffic.
·Teach her “stop” and “go”, so that she’ll act quickly when you give her an instruction.