My daughter is only 4; she knows our house number but not the name of the street, she can count to 30 and back but would never be able to recite my mobile number and on a good day I’m lucky if she knows my last name, as we have different last names. I’m adamant that I don’t want to frighten her into that thinking there’s a bogeyman around every corner waiting snatch her, but I do want to equip her to cope is she ever in a frightening situation. For example, if we get separated in a crowd.
So, when we go to busy events; Fireworks night, Winter Wonderland, turning on Christmas lights or travelling on the tube in rush hour, I always have a quick conversation with her in a blasé tone, to play down the likelihood that this will happen. I begin by giving her one of my business cards and asking her to put it in her pocket. Then I remind her that if ‘we get separated don’t panic/cry, find another mummy, tell her you can’t find your mummy and give her my business card’. So many of us tell our kids to find a police officer, but when’s the last time you stumbled across a Bobby?
Nine times out of ten, most other mums will be completely safe, will do their utmost to help, will comfort her and reunite us in minutes.
Fingers crossed this never happens but it makes me feel a lot better that she at least knows what to do, heaven forbid it ever happens. But, we all know kids are bloody quick and it’s only a matter of time before it does.