The thought of anything bad happening to your child is every parents worst nightmare. Hands down. While terrifying, it’s our job as parents to teach our kids the necessary tools and information needed to protect themselves. In the event your child gets lost or separated from you, can they answer these 5 questions?
1) What is their full name?
This one is obvious, but may not be common knowledge to a younger kid. Make sure they know their last name, and even how to spell it. It’s extremely important they can identify themselves to a safe adult if need be. Another part of self identification is #2..
2) What is your birthday?
I know this may seem menial but in the event of your child being lost, you want them to be able to tell an authority who they are. Their name and birthday can speed up the identification process.
3) What is your Mom and/or Dads full name?
Our kids know us as Mom and Dad. Really, how often do they address us by our first names? And, in today’s modern society, it’s much more common that Moms, Dads, and kids, don’t always all share the same last name. In our case, my kids took their Dad’s last name, but we never married, so I didn’t. When I posed this question to my kids they knew my first name but not my last. They assumed it was the same as theirs. When the security guard at the mall asks your lost child what your name is, you don’t want them to have to page “Mom” over the intercom.
4) What is your address?
Addresses can be complex depending on where you live but it’s so important that your child know their correct residential address. This is especially vital for your kids that are starting to venture out into the neighborhood without you. It’s not hard for an 8 or 9yr old kid to get turned around or distracted when out and about. They need to be able to tell a safe adult where they live, so they can get the right directions to get home. All it takes is one wrong turn or one unfamiliar street for them to feel like they’re a million miles away.
Finally, and most importantly:
5) What is your phone number?
I’m ashamed to admit, this one stumped my kids the most. They didn’t have the slightest clue. Regardless of whether they can remember their full name and birthday, or their parents full name or address, if they can remember their phone number, you can be reached and reunited. Sing the numbers to a tune, figure out if the digits spell a word (123-555-DOGS for example), whatever it takes, just TEACH them!
Teaching your child the proper answers to these 5 questions is fundamental in keeping them safe. It will ensure they are returned to you as quickly and efficiently as possible. Don’t wait until it’s too late or think it will never happen to you and your family, because it can happen to anybody.