Home safety and security have never had such importance, with so many families having both parents in the workforce and technology making our lives incredibly transparent. Setting security and safety expectations with your children should start at a young age and should be reinforced through direct communication and lifestyle observations. Remember, you’re the best example for your children.
But how do you teach them to be safe without scaring them? Here’s a look at some effective ways to inform your children on safety issues while simultaneously instilling good security habits that will stick with them for a lifetime.
Toddlers and younger adolescent children can be taught a wide range of safety information they can implement and accomplish with little to no difficulties. These include:
Picking up toys around the house so they aren’t tripping hazards
Securing bicycles and other outside toys
Learning how to lock deadbolt locks
Knowing knives, scissors, and other kitchen utensils are off limits without an adult
Answered the door or phone can only happen with an adult present
Taking extra caution in bathrooms, pools, and other places with wet surfaces
The quickest path out of the house from wherever they are in the event of an emergency
Nearly every event of a child’s young life is a learning experience for them and a teaching experience for parents. At this age, children respond to repetition and reinforcement of these and other common sense approaches to safety and security. Take the time and make the effort to instruct for optimal results.
Older adolescents and “tweens” are more socially active today than their parents were at their age. Unfortunately, their lack of real-world experience has them at a severe disadvantage compared to those people who mean to harm them or otherwise exploit their naïveté.
In addition to the information above, which should never be ignored just because a child is older, children at this age should be thoroughly instructed on issues including:
Not divulging personal information on social media sites or in chat rooms
Not posting family vacation plans on social media networks
Not posting vacation photos online until you and your family return from the trip
Not advertising when anyone is home alone or when parents are out for the evening
Learning how to solve problems around the house, like how to douse a grease fire in the kitchen
Knowing how to turn off the water main and the main power to the house, if old enough
How to arm and disarm the home security system
Children of this age need to be lovingly taught how to be safe online and in their homes. This age group’s willingness to publicly divulge private family information, paired with their lack of understanding of the potential downside of letting strangers know these things, can lead to home burglaries or other problematic scenarios you can do your part to help avoid.
In addition to all of the above information, you can add some home safety responsibility to the lives of your teenagers. Teens can be responsible for arming and disarming home security systems, including using smartphone and tablet apps provided by most home security companies. Teens can also be helpful with teaching, instructing, and encouraging the younger children in your home to be as safe as they can, and to think of security issues as often as possible.
Around the house, teens can be involved in the installation of a DIY home security system, if that’s what you decide to go with. Or, if you opt for a professionally monitored service, you can have them be present when it’s installed so they learn about potential security weaknesses, like ground-level windows, unsecured garage doors, and dark areas that need motion sensor lights on your property.
No matter what age category your children fall into, they can play an active role in keeping your home secure. To discover which security system is right for your family, check out the SafeWise security system finder.
Written by John Roskelley
John is a hockey fan, frequent fisherman, and former Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. He nerds out to finding new gadgets that help keep his family safe. Learn more