Many parents avoid discussing safety and home security with their children because they’re worried about scaring their kids. While security isn’t the most exciting subject to discuss with your kids, it’s important that they know the basics. One way that many parents have found useful for teaching kids home security is by using age-appropriate games. Role-playing is the best way to teach kids important safety and security tips without unnecessarily concerning them with the dangers of the modern world.

It is necessary to develop an emergency plan, and every member of the family must know it by heart. Practice this with your kids – what would you grab if you had to leave quickly? Where outside would you meet the rest of your family? What if you couldn’t go out your front door, or through the hallway? Kids are naturally creative, so let them help to answer these questions. Kids will think it’s fun to practice their escape route while crawling, which could be an invaluable skill in the case of a fire.

Such strategies are also a good way to practice various natural disasters, such as hiding in the basement during a tornado, or under a sturdy table during an earthquake. Spend an hour in the dark telling stories and eating ’emergency kit’ food. If the real thing happens, kids will be less likely to panic if they’ve already practiced Your choice of scenario will, of course, depend on the region of the country and what natural disasters are prominent dangers there.

When it comes to everyday safety concerns, modeling the best behavior is the best way to get children to adopt these household practices. For example, practice good phone manners, such as avoiding saying they are home alone by telling the person on the phone that their parent is in the restroom.

Role playing also works to teach kids what to do in many of these situations.

If your child has a play house, knock on the door and teach them what to say. There’s no reason to teach them what could potentially happen if they let in the wrong person – all they need to know is what they should do when someone comes to the door.

If you have a security alarm system, your kids need to know how to use it. Decide how much power you want your kids to have over the system. For example, you may want to trust your teens with more of the features of the system than you’d teach to younger children. Kids must know the steps to take, both to activate and deactivate the alarm and how to prevent false alarms. For security alarm operation, as well as key details such as contact names, numbers, and addresses, make it a game by offering prizes for successful memorization.

The key to teaching kids about safety and security is to avoid overwhelming them. Though they need to understand the importance of secure behaviors, they don’t need to know the possible dangers lurking out there. Review this information on a regular basis, at least monthly, so that it does not become forgotten.

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