As the Momma-in-Charge, I have used a few key items over the year to help me keep my kids safe. This has proven especially useful with my daughter-who-never-grows-up.
Kids become accustomed to the sound of their mother’s voice and tend to ignore it. (As if you needed someone to tell you that!) My kids pay close attention when I do two things:
- snap my fingers
The advantage of a finger snap is it can be used almost anywhere and it can be subtle. If my kids are sitting in a room full of people and I quietly snap my fingers, their heads snap to my look at my face and then I can communicate something (a few sign language signals help here – or just have a really expressive face!).
When they are out in the neighborhood, I whistle loudly and that means “come home right now”. Of course if everyone starts snapping and whistling, this may not work anymore!
When we are out in public, I take notice of what clothes they are wearing before we get out of the car. If we get separated briefly, I know what color to look for. We have also talked at length about “if you get lost, go to the clerk at the store”, but we haven’t had an occasion to test it. Whew.
In terms of street and parking lot safety, my daughter knows she has to choose a hand to hold. It doesn’t have to be mine, but it must be someone in the family. This is more fun for her than anyone else, as of course, her brother doesn’t want to be seen holding her hand now that he is 13!