Teaching children the basics of home safety early will help them see value in simple safety measures as they get older. But what things should you teach them? Whether they’re just learning to close the front door behind them, or you’re entrusting them to be home alone, the importance of home safety should be taught early and encourage at all times.
Here are five simple things that are easily understandable for children of all ages.
1. Intruders are Real
Many parents want to skip over telling their children why safety measures are taken to protect the home. Find a way that’s easily understood by your child and consider their age and maturity level. Explain how and why someone might break into your home. It’s never too early to be honest and transparent with your child about safety. Be sure that they understand that you will always do your best to protect them, and they can pitch in to make sure that the entire family is safe and secure.
2. Phone Number and Address
One of the first things you teach children is their name. Once they get a little older it’s important that they know other personal information. Teach your children their home address and phone number where you can be reached. In the event that they are lost, or wander out the front door without you knowing, they can help someone find where they live or contact you. Make sure that they know only to use this information to get back to you and not random strangers on the street.
3. House Keys and Codes
For older children, staying home alone may become a possibility when they reach a certain age and level of responsibility. Make sure that they know how to use the key and that they have it with them in a secure location in their bag or backpack. Check in with them daily to make sure it hasn’t been lost. Many home can be accessed through a garage door. Teach them the code and that the door must be put down behind them. The door to the house from the garage must also be lock after they enter. If your home is equipped with a home security system, teach them how to set this once they are secure inside the home. Let them know how the alarm can be triggered, and what will happen if it is. Have a plan in place if the alarm is accidentally set off.
4. Emergency Plan
For real emergencies, establish and practice a plan for the entire family. Walk through different scenarios. Whether it’s a home intrusion, severe weather, or medical emergency everyone should know what to do and who to call. Some home security systems have call buttons directly to fire and police. Keep safety kits around the home for quick access and show your child what’s in them and how to use them.
5. Rules and Expectations
As the years go by your rules and expectations will change depending on your child’s age and abilities. When you decide they are responsible enough to handle having a house key, or knowing the passcode to unarm the house alarm, be clear about what you want them to do and know about these things.