Teach a Child What to Do if They Get Lost

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.
Teach a Child What to Do if They Get Lost

Last update: 20 April, 2021

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.

Who Should Teach a Child What to Do if They Get Lost

A mother having a serious conversation with her  young daughter.

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. There are standard prevention methods that you can share with your family and any friends with young children.

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.

What Are the Basic Guidelines?

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 or if we’re in a place with large crowds of people.

Put yourself in the situation: What would you feel? What would go through your mind? What would you do? Have you thought about it before? Therein lies the importance of knowing what to do.

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

A toddler talking on a cell phone.

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’ll have to work with them to memorize these facts completely.

You can also have him wear a phone number on a bracelet or a piece of clothing. This way, even if they don’t remember it, they’ll be able to give it to the person in question.

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 lost sight of you at that moment.

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?

At the same time, practicing with the child by asking them which adult they would choose to ask for help is a variation of this dynamic.

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

Final Recommendations

A mother and son hiking in the woods.

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.

For younger children who can’t memorize numbers or their parents’ first names, it’s a good idea to write them on a piece of paper or engrave the data on a necklace or bracelet. In the case of a piece of paper, you have to teach your child where it is so that they can tell an adult how to locate you if they gets lost.

Additionally, you have to know how to act when the child shows up. It would be unfair to pour out our tension by yelling at them and blaming them for what happened. Children don’t get lost because they want to.

Finally, the moment of reunion is ideal to show him how much you love them and how happy you are to have found them. Afterwards, you can analyze together how and why they got lost, so that it doesn’t happen again.

It might interest you...
My Child Doesn’t Listen to Me
Step To HealthRead it in Step To Health
My Child Doesn’t Listen to Me

Many mothers say that their children don't listen to them. These mothers have tried everything to communicate effectively with their child and have...

  • 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.