Role-Play with Your Child
Talking about safety is key, but as anyone who's tried to explain something to a preschooler knows, you often end up in a circle of whys. But why should I call your name? So I can find you. But why should you find me? Because you're lost. But why am I lost? Aaargh!
A better approach is to practice through role-playing. However, kids this age are easily traumatized, Gilliam warns, so acting out being lost has to be positive and empowering rather than scary. "Focus on positive things kids can do to find a parent rather than how they can stop a bad adult from taking them away," Gilliam says.
At home or even in safe public spaces, let your children pretend to get separated from you; then work through the steps of staying put and yelling your name. Joselle Shea suggests getting a friend involved so your kids can practice asking another mother for help.