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Every parent’s worst fear is losing their child. The subject is sometimes a hard one to talk about or read about it. The idea of losing your child is frightening. Lately, on Facebook, I am seeing several news posts about children going missing of various ages.
If you read or watched the news then know about the six-year-old boy, who went missing after he ran off from his father and adult friend at a park. Recent updates the story is that his body probably found. My stomach and heart dropped when I read the headline. Why did my stomach drop? Because of that one word “autism” and the phrase “a boy with autism.”
Because the phrase could be “girl with autism” or boy or girl “blank” (insert disorders here).
Being a mom and losing my child is my worst fear. That fear turned me into a helicopter mom when it comes to my daughter. Now being a helicopter mom is not a bad thing especially when you have a child who needs all of your attention. When they do not understand safety or the concept of “stranger danger” as a neurotypical child would. It’s not a luxury to sit and watch the kids and hope that they don’t run off. Nope!
When my daughter was little, she tended to walk or run off. I always had to use a stroller, shopping cart, or I carried her on my hip because she did not follow directions. I pre-planned outings, or when I did my shopping, I would do it before pick up. Now?
I am still careful about our outings:
Walgreens: She grabs one of those rolling baskets and take it with her to the toy section and pick out her toy. We only go once a week on one certain day. After that, she will follow me and help me get what we need.
Publix: Well, they have the racecar looking cart, so they win peacefull shopping plus the cookie from the bakery. Publix is a win.
Walmart: We take a cart even though she will walk beside me or on the cart. But thanks to YouTube Kids we have an increasing interest in toys. If she doesn’t find what she is looking for she will walk away from ignoring all directions -Insert Facepalm Here- to find it. When she does that since it’s her and me and that is the first place we go I abandon the cart and go after the princess and redirected her by telling her to try again. We only go to Walmart when she earns weekly positive reports from school.
What that means is that she and I will return to the point of origin. Which is the cart and together walk down the aisle to find what she is looking for instead? Redirection means to redirect her current train of thought.
Park: I play, I climb, I follow, and interact with my daughter while she plays especially in a busy playground. I don’t sit back the thought that she could run off in a jiff keeps me on my toes. Now I don’t have too she knows playground limits I can sit back and watch her play with new friends she makes. But I still keep to be on my toes I am the mama that will make sure that my surrounds know that I am a hands-on mom.
There have been various reports of child traffickers and kidnappings in stores like Walmart. I always look over my shoulder and around me. My mom always said “Check Your Surroundings, and this mama says check your surroundings look over your shoulder. Safety is first and priority.
Why do I still need to be careful with her still being a wondering child? Simple because she is still a child testing her limits. Seeing what I will allow her to do as she gets older just like any child. She knows there are limits and needs a constant reminder.
THIS is not only for the mom with the child with special needs. This is for all the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, etc who take care of children. We live in a time where it’s not safe like it once was. The monster under the bed is not as scary as the monster that lurks and follows you in a store or park. Waiting for that moment of opportunity to take a child, teenager, and even a grown adult.
Tips to keep your child safe.
- Check your surroundings
- Keep your child in eye view
- Eyes off your phone
- Make your presences known around your child.
- Make sure that people know that you are watching.
- Interact with your child on the playground.
- Be quick to react.
- Walk to the car with your key ready in your hand.
- Always be ready for the unprecedented.
Stay safe and keep your babies safe.