Little ones love malls, to them it’s big and fascinating. Children are inquisitive and will often wander off to investigate and explore their surroundings, they may also do this without notifying you. Their concept of danger isn’t as developed yet and to them it’s innocent fun. The moment you turn your head, they could be gone, hiding from you. The best you can do in this situation is to start searching with the help of others.
Your child could actually just be hiding from you because to them the mall is infiltrated with vast amounts of hiding places. Kids have really playful natures and malls offer lots of opportunities to have some fun. Call out to your child in the immediate vicinity, they may just be around the corner playing with anything got their hands on. They may even be hiding away from you for fun.
Think like a child
What would you do if you were a child? Where would you go? Check nearby candy stores or the toy shop. If they know the mall well, they may have wondered off to their favourite store. Be quick about it because the moment they come to realise that you are not behind them, it will be a scary moment for your little tot. Also tell employees of the stores that they need to keep an eye out for your child. Security jobs in Gauteng train their mall officers in cases like these, and its perfect timing to also teach your child to always go to the man or woman in uniform for help.
Take a look behind shelves, the back of displays, under sofas and chairs, and even behind the clothing racks. You will be surprised at the tiny places they can fit into. Remember that to them this is a game and they could be looking at you, smiling that you are unable to find them. Call out their name, a couple of times and lure them out with a toy or a snack. Even gesture that you are about to leave the store, shout out saying, “Bye, I’m leaving now.” They will run out to you not wanting to be left behind.
Lay down ground rules from this point forward
Talk to you child about how dangerous it is to run off or hide away from you in the mall. Explain to them that they could get lost or even worse, taken. Kids need to be repeatedly told to always stay by their parent’s side. Before you enter the mall lay down the rules and make sure that they understand them clearly.