Unfortunately we don’t live in a society where doors and windows can be left unlocked when no one is at home or where children can be outside on their own for hours with no supervision. This world is a scary place full of child predators, burglars, and criminals looking to take advantage of anyone they can.
It is never too early to teach your kids about being safe at home. If they can write their name and learn their address and phone number, it is time to spend some time discussing home security. Even if they can’t write or memorize yet, they can be taught how to dial 911 when there is an emergency.
Some common situations that kids need to prepare for are:
• What to do in the event of a fire?
• What to do if the fire alarm goes off or the phone rings and an adult isn’t home?
• What to do if they come home and are locked out?
Ways to prepare and practice with your kids so that it is fun and engaging:
• Practice, practice, practice
• Role playing
• Make a game out of it
Create a Family Plan
Practice fire drills with your kids at home, so that they are prepared for what to do if they ever hear the alarm go off. A family plan helps children to remain calm in emergency situations like a fire or home invasion. Emergencies create a lot of chaos and confusion, and children are likely to hide unless they know in advance the family plan. Show your kids how to use the panic button on your home security system to alert the entire family of an emergency. Choose a family meeting place either inside or outside the home when an alarm goes off. Then everyone can meet up and choose the appropriate course of action depending on the emergency. Practice your plan on a regular basis. It will feel less chaotic to a child if they are prepared and have practiced what to do when an alarm goes off, or someone yells “fire!”
Practicing situations like what to do if the phone or doorbell ring and an adult is not at home are a great way to prepare your kids. Practice with them, by ringing the doorbell and pretending that they are home alone, and try to get them to let you in by telling them you came over to pick something up, or you are a repair man and need to be let in to fix something that may be broken. See how your kids react and teach them to ignore the door and the phone if no one is at home. They should only open the door or answer the phone with a parent’s permission, and if a parent isn’t home, then they don’t have permission. Role playing is fun for kids and takes the pressure off if they make any mistakes when they are practicing with their family members.
Games are Fun and Engaging Learning Tools
Games are a great way to engage your kids and teach them at the same time. You can come up with a game of 20 questions, or a matching memory game for them to play that involves solutions to safety situations. If you can’t think of any creative game ideas FEMA and Home Security Sysems.net are both great places to find games for kids to play about safety in all kinds of situations. Make a game out of the situation where they come home to discover they are locked out. Do they know where a spare key is? Is there a neighbor that has a key in case this happens? Do you have a keyless entry, and if so do they know the code? Find out what they would do and walk them through the steps to get into the home.
(Flickr image via clappstar)