Dear “And You Will Have Kids”:
Our family will be going on a vacation soon to a large amusement park. Our children are small and I worry about keeping them together. What can I do to make sure no one gets “lost”?
Any suggestions you have would be helpful.
Dear Momma Mouse:
Keeping your kids corralled and safe in crowded places can be difficult. Here are some things I’ve learned over the years!
Consider keeping a stroller handy. If you have several young children, it will be great if you can get a double stroller. If your children do decide to walk, strollers are still great for stashing “stuff” like clothing changes, diaper bags, and juice cups.
Another handy thing about strollers is that you can station older children along the sides of the stroller and have them hold onto the stroller. That way, you can keep track of your children, even in crowds.
I have used a “child harness” with one of my children who was high energy after she “got lost” once at a busy Florida amusement park. Although I was not entirely thrilled about the harness concept, it was a great way to keep track of her!
I have also found that a great way to keep track of your kids is to dress them in similar clothes. Several years ago, our homeschool group took a trip to Washington DC and we all wore red, white, and blue tie dyed t-shirts. If I was looking for “lost” members of the group, I simply looked for the tie dyed t-shirts. It really did help to keep the group together!
Another way to keep your family safe during traveling is to have your children wear bracelets with your name and phone number on them. This is very helpful. Although I have never had anyone call my cell number and tell me that they have found one of my children, I still have them wear the wristbands. Other parents have commented on what a great idea it is!
Discussing safety with your children is also important. For example, if they became “lost” from you, what would they do? Who would they ask for help? When you get to a park or other crowded public area, point out the staff people to your children. Let them know that if they should become “lost”, they can go to a person wearing a name tag with a blue shirt and black pants for help(or whatever the uniform colors are at that particular place).
Also discuss the importance of staying with the family. Stress that your children need to tell you if they want to check out a ride or see something. They can NOT just walk off without telling an adult. Model good behavior and follow the rules that you have set up too! If you want to check out a certain ride, tell the other adults in the group instead of just walking off and catching up with the group later.
Pick a landmark as a meeting place in case your family should get separated. When we were at one park, I pointed out to my children a popular castle and told them that should we be separated, they needed to get back to the castle. Although they never became separated from our group, it was a good strategy.
Have fun on your trip! I hope that these suggestions will be of help to you and your family!