We went to the local shopping centre today after I picked the kids up from school. Lucy decided she needed the toilet so off we went towards the toilets and Jack raced ahead. This is something he does when the centre is not busy and he usually stays in sight and will stop and wait for us to catch up. But today he didn’t he kept going, or so I thought.
The corridor leading up to the toilets has an interactive map, which Jack likes to play with. This boy is obsessed with maps, so I thought he’d ran ahead to play with the map, but when I got there he wasn’t there. I checked in the toilets calling out his name but no reply.
After a about 5 minutes of pure sickening panic and getting the fright of my life, he turned up. He somehow ended up at the otherside of the centre. He said he forgot where we were going. He was very upset, I was just so relieved he was found.
When I am out with the kids I always say if they get lost to go to the staff at the tills or security guards etc and they say ok, but it was only today when the incident actually happened, I realised that I needed to drill this into them.
Our shopping trip this afternoon tuned into a learning exercise. We now have a meeting point on both floors of the shopping centre. The kids know where customer services are, where all the security guards are located and what their uniforms look like.
This is our plan if we get separated or they can’t find me around the centre (when not in a shop):
- Freeze have a good look around and shout for me a few times really loudly. If you still cant find me…
- Look around for a security guard and tell them you’re lost and tell them where our meeting point is.
- If you can’t find a security guard either go to our meeting point on that floor, or go to the tills in the nearest shop and tell the staff that you are lost and tell them where our meeting point is.
- Never change floors in the shopping centre and NEVER EVER leave the shopping centre.
If we are in a shop:
- Freeze have a good look around and shout for me a few times really loudly.If you still cant find me…
- Look for a staff member or security guard if you can’t see one, go to the tills, changing rooms or customer services.
- DO NOT leave the shop!
So we did a few role plays and I got both of them at different times to show me what they would do if they got lost. This is something I will be doing with them on a regular basis from now on. Especially as Jack is very forgetful. One thing is for sure I wont be letting Jack run ahead again, I hope today frightened him enough to learn from his mistake. I know it certainly did for me.
I’d love to hear what other people’s safety plans are with their kids in these situations.