Being home security-wise comes second nature to us adults. Unfortunately for children, it does not. Habits such as shutting and locking the door; being cautious when it comes to hazardous items. So it's always a good idea to teach them the basics of home security. That way, your children will know how to behave in certain situations. The second benefit of teaching them the do's and don'ts of home security will be for you. It will give you the confidence to leave your children unattended for short periods and knowing that they will be safe too.
With this in mind, why not start with these simple tips?
Lock the house
To start with, remind your child to always lock the door each time they enter the house. But, children often are prone to forgetting this step, so consider changing your door lock. A single cylinder door lock is the more suitable solution. It means that this type of lock will stay locked from the outside whenever the door shuts. It doesn’t need a key from the inside to lock/unlock, but rather uses a thumb-turn style lever to open instead. If your children are old enough to own a smartphone, consider getting a smart door lock. That way, you receive notifications the moment they arrive home from school alone.
We mustn’t forget about the windows. Close every window and lock them too whenever they are home on their own. The best way for forming this habit is to make a routine with your children. Go through the house with them and ask them to perform a lock check each day. Here teaching them how to check that the windows and doors are closed and locked, when and why this needs to be done.
You’d think that not answering strangers’ questions is instinctive in children. But it’s not. Teach your children to not answer any strangers’ questions. And, more importantly, to not unlock the door to see who is outside waiting. But, if this habit is hard to break, install a video doorbell or security camera. This way, for those who are curious and want to see what is happening, can do so in a safe manner. Show them how to access the live feed on the mobile app. By teaching them how to use it appropriately, they’ll learn when it is an ok time to talk to the person on the other side, rather than every time.
Teach them to not open the door to strangers or even to someone they recognise but weren’t expecting to show up. Tell them it is okay to not open the door to anyone and they don’t need to tell the person on the other side why. This same concept applies when they are outside. Teach them not to approach strangers and also what to do if someone approaches them.
Home security systems
Have an alarm at home? Explain to your children why it’s used and how it works. Next step is to teach your child how to use it. Provide them with their PIN so they can activate/deactivate it as needed. Most importantly, ensure that your child can remember the PIN and it’s not written down. Most security systems will have a security company that will make contact when an alarm is activated. Your children should understand and know what to say in the event of an emergency or a false alarm.
Let your children know what is off-limits and why it’s off-limits. This ranges from cleaning products, medicine, tools and alcohol, just to name a few. As an added security measure, consider placing these items in an out of reach and locked cabinet. Areas of the house can be off-limits when you’re not home too. Think about the kitchen, with its block of sharp knives or drawer full of kitchen utensils and appliances. Other areas to consider off-limits include the shed, home office and the garage.
What to do in an emergency
Sometimes, it may not be safe to stay inside. This could be because of a fire, flooding or any other incident that makes staying inside the home unsafe. Let your children know that it is okay to call emergency services. Discuss with your children what they need to say, such as the home address and what is happening. Give your children a list of contacts whom they can call if you’re unavailable.
There are all sorts of things that could go wrong when your child is left alone at home. Which means you could be forever teaching your child about every possible scenario. However, we know this is not always possible. Thus by teaching your children these basic yet vital tips, to begin with, they will begin to become aware of their surroundings and learn what to do. Not to mention you’ll feel confident too, in leaving them alone for short periods knowing they are safe.