I have a hidden fear (or not so hidden, as the case may be). I am constantly afraid of losing one of my children while out and about. It has only happened to me once, and it was for less than 5 minutes, but it was one of the scariest 5 minutes of my life. (Don't worry, we had a happy ending on that one!)
But still, once you put me in among crowds of people with more children than I have hands to hold them with, you've got one crazy, head counting mama on your hands. Every time I think about "Free Museum Day" or "Field Trip to the Zoo" (which always seems to be the same day as every public school field trip to the zoo for some reason)... I nearly get hives just thinking about it.
I finally came up with something that gives me a small bit of sanity, though. I heard about these Child ID bracelets that people have made for them that have their cell phone number printed in a discrete place, so if (heaven forbid) you are separated from your small (or not so small, but scared) child for any reason, the person that found your child has a quick and easy way to get in contact with you.
This is all special and wonderful, but I wanted a cheaper and more customizable way to get the same thing done. I went online and bought a bulk pack of those tyvek wristbands that you often get at concerts, carnivals, or other public events. I chose bright green and got about 100 of them for just a couple bucks. You can also find them at party stores and a few office supply stores if you prefer to purchase locally. Then I just wrote "Child ID" "Please call my mom" "In Case of Emergency" and other phrases on the colored part with a Sharpie (the side that would face out). On the inside, I used ball point pen to write my cell phone, as well as my husbands, and an email address too (because I'm crazy like that). You could also include your child's name and address if you feel so inclined.
This way I can create a new wristband for each time we are out. Perhaps include a grandparents contact if my mom and I take the kids out, or a co-teachers contact if we are with a co-op. I could even give extras to the neighbor kids we sometimes travel with. Cheap, easy, and a great last resort "just in case." It has worked for me, and something similar might work for you! (think family vacations to Disneyland, trips to the beach (if you used the right pens, they are waterproof!), or the mall during the holidays). Maybe even just a way to communicate allergy or medical emergency information when your child is away. The possibilities are endless!
Other ideas that might work for your family as well:
- Use a luggage tag you already have hanging around the house and attach it to your little one's belt loop when you go out
- Write your contact info on a small piece of cardstock, laminate and hole punch it, and then tie into your child's shoelaces (contact info side down with "Child ID" or something similar facing up)
- Clip a business card or other ID card onto the end of a keychain lanyard that hangs around their neck
- Google "Child ID" and buy any of the many retail Child ID options that are already made and ready for you (some of them look really nice!)
I don't want anyone to feel overly paranoid or make their children look like little crazies from overdone nerdy labels, but just thought I would throw a few ideas out there in case it would help someone (like me) ratchet their anxiety levels down a few notches while in crowded, busy places. Have fun and be safe out there!
Kristen loves to travel, is an awesome head counter, and loves that she has the opportunity to homeschool her children. They sometimes record their various adventures at Mundo Classroom.