We attended Phoenix Comicon the other day. I am sure you have heard of it. Let me tell you, there are no words in the world to describe the mass of people that were in attendance. Fortunately, we take precautions before going in crowded places.
I am the mom of an atypical 10 year old; an 8 year old with ADHD and anxiety disorder; and an atypical 3 year old. Oh, and did I mention that I too have depression and general anxiety disorder?
Let me paint the scene for you.
People. Hundreds of people. Everyone touching all around you. I mean backs touching fronts. Sides touching sides. Fronts touching fronts. All the while trying to keep 3 shorter than everyone little people crammed between me and the other adult (dad) and moving along by shuffling your feet an inch every “step”.
Not only are B and I overwhelmed with all the people (and all the touching) but I’m panicked that one of these little people (my kids) are going to get swept away in a wave of people or step out of our little smushed line of bodies and get lost in the sea of people.
Luckily, hubby and I had some ideas up our sleeves along with tips before going into crowded places with kids.
1. There are temporary tattoos that you can put on your child and then write your information on. We didn’t have those on hand so we used a ball point pen and liquid band-aid. I wrote “call my mom” and my phone number on each child’s forearm and then we covered it with the liquid band-aid to prevent it from rubbing or washing off easily.
2. Take a picture of the kiddo before you leave. We all know the first question someone asks when someone goes missing is “what were they wearing”? 99% of the time, I don’t remember an hour ago none the less what my child who tends to change their clothes a million times was wearing. And if your children are like mine and change their clothes a million times, literally stop them and take their picture with your phone before they walk out the door to leave. (Hubby took the pictures and then messaged them to me. They are horrible and crooked so I am not sharing them, but each kid had their own picture taking with what they were wearing right before we walked out the door!)
3. Always emphasize who the “good guys” are. If we are in public and we see a police officer or firefighter, we have the kids talk to them (if timing is appropriate! Clearly I’m not sending my kid into a house fire to talk to a firefighter!) Make sure they know that firefighters and police offers are good guys and if anything were to happen or they were to get lost, they should feel safe approaching a police officer or firefighter.
4. Talk to them about what they should do, should they get lost. We asked Addy (age 3) the question and she said “run away”. We took that time to explain to her that she shouldn’t run away, but to stay where she is and find a police man or firefighter and tell them she is lost. If police or firefighters aren’t going to be where you are going, you can discuss approaching security or approaching another adult with kids.
While we always hope something doesn’t happen to our kids, we all know that mistakes happen. In my personal opinion, I would rather be prepared for the “what if” than be stuck later with my child having zero idea what they should do.
Do you have any other tips to share before going into crowded places with children? Leave them in the comments so we can add them to our post!