Teach kids these 4 important lessons about crowded events

September 09, 2014

Visiting a theme park or attending a concert can be amazing family outings, but it's important your children understand how to behave in crowded areas. Excited kids will often be tempted to run over to a favorite costumed character or snack stand when you're not looking, causing both of you to panic. To prevent these problems, teach children these four lessons about safety, as well as courtesy in public places, before heading to a big event.

1. Stick together
The easiest way to prevent kids from getting lost is to teach them never to leave your sight. Better Homes and Gardens magazine says to sit down the night before the event and establish ground rules. Tell children that they should always be able to see you and that you'll be doing everything as a family. If your destination is a theme park, explain that they won't be able to go on rides alone and per the park's rules, some rides are only for adults. Bathroom breaks will be taken as a family, or at least using the buddy system. Employing these practices will ensure the family will stick together!

2. The necessity of hand-holding
You can also establish a holding hands policy. When in a crowded place, your children have two options: hold your hand when asked or it's time to go home. Popsugar Moms explained that if you give your children no choice but to hold your hand, they'll be less likely to resist. Be firm, and if they won't comply, leave the event.

You can practice this rule when you're at a toy store or supermarket. Explain that if kids don't follow the rules; they won't be able to come with you. Most children are willing to comply in order to visit their favorite places, and establishing this habit when kids are young will make family outings much easier.

3. Respect other people's space
Crowds and long lines can be stressful for children, but it's important that they're courteous to the people around them. Explain that it's not nice to touch other children or cut in line. Make it a rule that if the kids want to get onto a ride or take a picture with a character, they need to wait their turn, and if they can't be patient, they won't be able to come back. Learning these polite habits when they're young will also help kids when they start attending school or day care. 

4. Ask someone for help
It's always a good idea to prepare for worst-case situations, as unlikely as they are. Before you head out, write each child's name and your phone number on the tag of his or her shirt or on an ID bracelet. When you get to the park or concert, the NSPCC suggests you let kids pick an emergency meeting spot. Make sure it's easy to remember and locate, like an information desk or restaurant. Explain to children that it's okay to be scared if you get separated, but if they follow the rules you've established, you'll be able to find each other quickly. 

Also take a moment to point out some employees. Most event staff will wear a distinguishable uniform, so make sure your kids can spot them. Explain to children that if they ever need help, they should find an employee, explain what is wrong and give their name and phone number. Popsugar Moms recommends that you tell kids to find another mommy when there aren't many employees around. Mothers with children are generally the most approachable and safest option when young children are lost.

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