Home security is something that most adult homeowners worry about. They often take actions to curb this worry, such as installing a security system, adding automatic light sensors, or upgrading locks. Often those same adults want to shield their children from the anxiety around alarm systems and the fear of a home invasion or theft. Rather than shielding, we would like to suggest some straightforward pieces of information that you can teach your children about home security.
There are some non-threatening ways to teach that specific information, depending upon the age and maturity of your child(ren). Use your discretion and start with simple explanations building up to more complex ideas.
The Purpose of 9-1-1
Even young children can begin to grasp the concept that there are people to help in every emergency situation. Mr. Rogers even espoused the idea of “looking for the helpers.” The goal should be to prepare your child without teaching them to be fearful.
Explain to your children the idea that there are adults who are meant to help in the case of an emergency. Be sure to spell out exactly what an emergency might be so they are not calling 9-1-1 for a non-emergency reason. Make a list of potential reasons why they may want to call that emergency number such as a fire, flood, a parent who is non-responsive, or other reasons.
In talking about calling emergency services, explain how sometimes they will need to leave the house, such as in a fire, while other times they may want to stay put, such as with a break-in.
We suggest practicing making emergency calls so they know what might be asked of them, including their name, age, address, and a general description of what the problem is. Don’t panic if your child can’t remember your address quite yet, the dispatcher will be able to tell where the call is originating from.
Locking Up & Alarm Setting
As children get a little older, they should be told the importance of locking up even when they are at home. Teach your child how to lock the doors, windows, and shut the garage door. This will set an example for years to come that your home should be protected.
Teens and tweens should be taught how an alarm system works so they can arm and disarm if necessary. Most teens can handle remembering a password as they have so many devices that run in similar ways. Remind them that the password is not to be shared and should never be written down.
Many times when a security system goes off, a phone call from the monitoring station will take place. Teach your child that they can answer the call and explain the situation if possible. This may save you a visit from emergency services should the alarm have gone off by accident.
Discuss Strangers at the Door
Children of all ages should be made aware that anyone coming to the door may not have good intentions. Remind them to ask an adult to get the door and not to allow anyone other than family in without permission.
Security alarms and video surveillance can help parents and family members rest assured that whomever is at the door will be visible, thus allowing them to see their visitor before opening the door.
Social Media and Your Home
Be sure to have discussions with your children, even from a young age about advertising what you have in your home, from a large screen t.v. to a safe in the bedroom closet. Older children should be aware of what they put on their social media regarding the home as well as vacations that are on the horizon.
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