Home security is a shared responsibility among family members. Thus, it does not and must not exempt children. If children are capable of writing their name, memorise their home phone number and address, then they are no less ready to hit the books about home security. Nevertheless, smaller children should in any case be taught how to call 9-9-9 or 1-1-2 strictly for emergencies, even if they cannot memorise the above-mentioned data.
Before going through the motions though you must consider that your children have certain limitations. Thus when teaching your child about safety it's best to be mindful of the following:
● From age three, children can already pick up and comprehend the importance of home safety. Do not expect though that your children will remember everything and be vigilant at all times.
● It would be best for you to model and demonstrate safe behaviours that you want your children to emulate. Children are keen observers and as their parents they look up to everything you do and think that these things are right so be mindful of what you teach them.
● It is important to be unfailing and repeat messages frequently. Children learn through practice thus making it a habit to learn about emergency practices is a must. Adult learners usually require at least three consecutive instances in order to remember something, so for children, repeat, repeat and repeat.
Upon knowing the abovementioned, you are ready to open the book and discuss it with them. Below are some home security tips that your child would be ready to absorb.
Dialling the Phone
• Teach children how to make emergency phone calls to 999 or 112, the fire department, a neighbour, or you, and train them about which agency is appropriate to call for each type of emergency. This will make them feel more secure, as they know the information they would need to react correctly to a home security issue.
Writing down emergency names and numbers
• Write a list of emergency situations broken down into potential crisis by category such as fire, burglary, poisoning and drowning. Include most importantly the agency to contact, their phone number, and a short script of the appropriate response to such occurrence. Make sure your children know where the list may be found. Preferably, place it alongside your landline downstairs. That way, they will be able to access it more easily.
Safeguarding the Doors
• Your children should be aware of properly locking all doors and the must to keep these doors locked at all times, to help them feel more secure. Prompt them not to open the door to any
person, including the police, unless with your permission. Teach them to not communicate with strangers who knock in the door or those forcing to open them as it is clearly a violation of property.
Yard and Pool
• One common accident at home is drowning. Children, young as they are should be educated about pool first-aid, pool safety, and the significance of advising you instantly if somebody tries to gain access to the pool or yard without your consent.
Poisoning Suffocation and Choking
• Children can easily be lured by what they see at home such as food. Eating is no joke so remind your children to never play with plastic bags or creep into small enclosed spaces such as dishwasher, toy box, freezer, etc. Even medicine bottles if not kept properly can attract children. Make sure to keep your medicine properly labelled and remind the kids that these cannot be consumed as food.
Prevent Fire, Blisters, and Injuries
• Fire can be caused even by simple things such as neglected children playing with match. Thus, as a parent it is important that you keep such things away from children and remind them that once they see matchboxes they should immediately keep them away.
"Kidproof" your home from Falls
• Do your best to "kidproof" your home by placing protective materials so that children can safely roam around the house without you worrying about them falling and hitting their heads. Tell your children to stay away from open windows, avoid playing on stairs and escalators, and use the handrail when going up or down the stairs.
• Educate your children about the dangers of going online and the importance of maintaining privacy while on the computer.
Role-Playing a Home Security Issue
• Dedicate practice time to role-play each of the different types of probable home security concerns, disconnecting your home phone to fulfil the practice "emergency calls". This will afford them with practical experience that will allow them to be equipped in case of a real-life crisis.
BE THERE. At the end of the day, you can only do so much in terms of teaching your child home safety but nothing beats being there to supervise them.