Teach a Child What to Do if They Get Lost

30 January, 2020
Everyone should teach their child what to do if they get lost. You're not always going to near them to keep them safe. This way, if they manage to get lost you can be assured that they will do some basic things.

Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. Whether it be in a public space or in your own neighborhood, it’s a situation that no family should have to go through. However, it happens more than we would like to admit. Regardless of your child’s age, it’s important to tell your child what they should do if they get lost.

It’s important to come up with a plan that all family members so there is no confusion should this situation ever happen.

This is not about over-protecting your children, nor making them nervous. It’s simply a question of making sure that your child knows what to do and how to stay safe.

In doing this, you’ll be providing them with tools which will come in handy as they mature and become more independent.

Who Should Teach a Child What to Do?

Whether it be your child, a niece, nephew, or your neighbor’s child, it’s important to have a good influence on the people around you if you don’t want to add to the list of lost children. There are standard prevention methods that you can share with your family and any friends with young children.

Teachers, nannies, sports coaches, and anyone who is responsible for children should have a contingency plan. This will minimize the risks of losing a child. They are, after all, easily distracted.

Depending on how old your child is, you need to explain things to them in a language that they will understand. Therefore, the rules and guides should be clear and simple.

You might like:

Five Alternatives to Punishment

What Are the Basic Guidelines?

Child behind a tree If they get lost

If you ever lose a child, even if it’s just for a few minutes, the stress and anxiety can be unbearable. Despite all the warnings you might give or pay attention to, there will always be the risk of losing a child.

This is mainly the case with children between three and five years old. Their curiosity easily lures them away from us.

Let’s take a look at what do to:

Talk to Them about What to Do

This conversation should be had at home. Even if your child is with someone else, it’s vital that they know what to do if they get lost.

This isn’t to make them afraid. These instructions should be delivered calmly and positively.

You can explain to them that it’s quite easy to be distracted for a few seconds and get separated from an adult. Your child should understand that, by following their instructions, it will be easier to find them again should they get lost.

Teach Them to Ask for Help Safely

Child asking adult for help If they get lost

We always tell our children not to talk to strangers. However, if they get lost, we need them to know how to identify someone they can approach safely.

  • Tell them that they can approach someone who is with children.
  • If they can’t see anyone with children, they can then approach either a single woman or a security official.
  • They should then tell the person that they’re lost, give them their full name, their parents’ names, and their telephone number. Obviously, you will have to work with them to memorize these facts completely.

Tell Them to Stay in One Place if They Get Lost

Sometimes, what makes the situation worse is when a child is lost and moves around from place to place.

You need to teach them that the best thing is to stay in the place where they last saw you. You should remind them of this each time you leave the house.

Assure them that you will come and find them wherever they are.

One simple way to make sure that your child has understood this is to practice with them. Each time you go out, ask them what they would do if they get lost.

You could also ask them the following questions: Who would you go to if you can’t see anyone with children? What would you do if a man asked you to go with him to find your parents?

Practice questions like this to reassure yourself that your child knows exactly what to do.


Why You Can’t Force Children to Kiss

Final Recommendations

Child sitting crying in a field because their parents didn't tell them what to do if they get lost

As well as the previous guidelines, it’s also sensible to urge your child to always walk with you hand-in-hand. It’s also a good idea to mark the labels on their clothes with their name, your name, and your telephone number.

With very small children who struggle to memorize all this information, it can be a good idea to provide them with a piece of paper with the details written on it. They can then show this to an adult if they get lost.

Additionally, you need to know what to do when you finally find your child. It would be very unfair to get angry and shout at them. Remember, children don’t get lost on purpose.

Finally, the moment when you find them is the perfect time to show them how much you love them and how happy you are that you found them. Later on, when everything is calmer, you can analyse things together.

  • Vallet, M. (2007). Educar a niños y niñas de 0 a 6 años. WK Educación.
  • Enguita, M. F. (2007). Educar es cosa de todos: escuela, familia y comunidad. La relación familia-escuela, 13.