How much do your children know about home security? Beyond locking doors and not opening them to strangers, a lot of youngsters don’t know much about protecting a home from criminals. In order for your home to be completely safe, however, it is important that children be well-versed about home security and that they know how to operate all of the equipment that you may have installed.
Often, people don’t consider teaching children about home security until they reach an age of being able to stay home alone. But even when adults are at home, children should be as aware of their environment as we expect adults to be. As a parent may be working in a garage or backyard, or may be napping, or may have briefly stepped away to a neighbor’s house, children are sometimes placed in risky home security situations if they haven’t been properly instructed about this issue.
The following are a few suggestions for teaching your children the basics of home security:
Do your children know how to operate your alarm system? Each child should know how to arm and disarm a system, as well as how to input a special code that alerts monitors of an emergency. Be sure to also instruct your children never to share your alarm code with anyone else and to never input a code while others are standing nearby. Children should be advised to always arm your system when home alone, as well as each and every time they leave the house.
When you cut the middleman out (and you should), alarm monitoring only costs a few dollars per month. With this option, however, make sure that children know the special code word in case an alarm is ever be triggered by accident thus causing an operator to call. Without this instruction, if your child ever accidentally triggers your alarm and police are dispatched to your home, you may be charged for the false alarm.
Can Your Children Operate Your Locks?
Make sure that your children know how to operate all of the locks in your home, including your window locks. This may sound elementary, but with the advent of high tech locks, such as biometric readers and other keyless entry systems, parents may need to spend time teaching children how to use them.
Don’t Open the Door For Anyone…Especially Someone in Distress
Instruct your children to never open your door for anyone. Often, we only instruct them not to open doors for strangers, but sometimes neighbors and other “friendly faces” are culprits waiting for the right opportunity. Also, teach your children to be particularly aware of criminals who use distress as a way to gain entrance to a home. Examples may be someone saying that they have a flat tire and need to use your telephone, or that their ball has landed over your fence. Teach your children to be firm about saying no to anyone who does not live in your home and who does not have a key to get inside.
To Answer or Not to Answer, That Is the Question
There will be mixed feelings about this one for sure. A common trick used by thieves is to knock on a front door to determine if anyone is at home. If no one answers, a thief may enter on the spot or return the next day at the same time with the assumption that homeowners are at work. For this reason, we generally advise that, without opening the front door, adults at least make their presence known. With children, however, this may not be the best approach as it may give the criminal indication that a child is home alone. Regardless as to where you stand on the question, we recommend a video intercom system and that you teach your children how to use it. If you opt for allowing a child to verbally respond to a knock, excuses like, “My dad is in the shower” may help give the impression that an adult is on the premises even if a child is actually home alone.
The Real World
Of course, we don’t want to frighten children, but we have to be realistic. Too often, we think that children cannot handle conversations about security and real-life dangers that are sometimes just beyond the front door. We have to remember, however, that it is our job as parents to prepare children for the real world and, unfortunately, this includes teaching them how to protect themselves from home intrusion.
What Do You Think?
Have you spoken to your children about home security yet? What are some of the suggestions or tips that we may have missed above? Please share your advice for our readers in the space provided below.