Have you ever temporarily lost your kids at a fair, carnival or theme park?
I was probably seven when my dad first took me to Miami’s monstrously packed Dade County Youth Fair and we both got lost from each other. My dad had forgotten to tell me what to do if we got lost because, of course, most parents don’t think they will lose their kids and especially us dads. Moms are usually better about remembering to think about things like that. In any case, I know this sounds ridiculous but when my dad and I got lost from each other I SERIOUSLY thought something very bad was going to happen to me and that I would never see my dad again. Eventually a police officer found me crying, my dad located me at the fair’s police station and here I am 33 years later.
I have a system I’ve taught my kids, which means they don’t remember it but I make sure to remind them of it every single time we go somewhere. I call my parenting trick for lost kids the Lost Jet Ski Trick.
If you’ve riden a jet ski you may know where this is going. Anytime you ride a jet ski and fall off, the jet ski is mysteriously programmed to completely slow down and go in circles until you can safely get back on board and continue riding and falling, riding and falling, riding and falling.
I told my 10 year old Jonathan and six year old Elena that if they get lost from us they need to essentially do the same thing. The moment they feel they’ve gotten lost from us they need to stay in the exact same spot and walk in small circles looking for us. The rule is that if we don’t find them within a reasonable amount of time (I let them determine that) that they are to look for another parent and ask where they can find a police officer. Some parents would say they should immediately look for a police officer but I don’t instruct them to do that because often times the Lost Jet Ski Trick works and it’s just a big pain to go searching for children at the Lost and Found or police stations of theme parks.
The Lost Jet Ski Trick works for me. Do you have a lost kid trick you want to share?