You are waiting for your child, who normally comes home on time after school. But on this sunny afternoon, he doesn’t turn up. Your worry grows with every minute that passes.

You call the school and find out that your son has left school on time. Has he got lost? Did he get on the wrong bus? Has something happened to him? A road accident? Or has he even been kidnapped? Your mental cinema is running at full speed. Wasn’t there a man watching you and your son on the playground last week? Wasn’t there even something in the newspaper last week about the abduction of a child from a European familiy?

Worry turns to panic. You try to remember the names of his friends. What are their names? Damn it, how can I contact them? Which bus does he always take home? Wait a minute, didn’t he say last week that the route was closed and he had to switch to two other lines? Which ones were they? The more time passes, the more questions remain unanswered—the greater the panic.

He finally gets home in the early evening. He had taken the wrong bus ending up in neighboring province. Stupidly, he had left his mobile phone in his locker after PE class and didn’t know your phone number off the top of his head.

Not knowing where your child is already a stressful situation in your home country. In a foreign country, it is sheer horror. Prepare yourself and your child:

Keep a telephone list of all your child’s friends and contacts ready to hand.
Practise your telephone number by heart with your child, and practise with them what to do if… And two things are very important: listen carefully to your child and always set an example.

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