Since the moment you brought your brand-new infant home from the hospital, you have done everything you can to be sure your home was safe. You covered the electrical outlets, turned the pot handles back so curious hands couldn't pull them off the stove and invested in locks for the cabinets.
Now that your children are getting older, you are broadening your safety-first mindset to other issues like how to handle strangers coming to the door, rules related to the phone, social media and more. While you know that you have to teach your kids about these concerns, your kids are at an age where they can handle some of these situations on their own, and you want to be sure they develop solid safety habits.
With this in mind, the following tips and ideas can help you to teach your kids how to think of safety first in and around the home.
Teach them how your home security camera system works
If you have a battery-powered security camera or other home security camera system, teach your children how it works, how to watch the outside security cameras and what to do if the alarm is tripped. If your cameras feature night vision, go outside in the dark to get a video recording of you standing by the front door” this way your kids will know what this type of nighttime footage will look like. Even if your children are too young to be left alone, there will be times when you are in the shower and they may have to check the security cameras if the alarm suddenly starts going off. Explain that security camera systems are helpful tools that help keep your home safe, but that they also need people to monitor them.
Rehearse safety-related situations
As Family Education notes, you don't have to wait until your kids are elementary school age or older to start teaching them about security and safety around the house” you can ask preschool-age kiddos safety-related what if? questions to see how much they know and don't know. Ask a mix of easier questions with more challenging ones, and if your young child doesn't know the answer, offer a suggestion. For example, ask 'What would you do if you dropped a glass of apple juice and the glass broke?' or 'What would you do if you were watching TV and the smoke detector suddenly went off?' These questions will help to sharpen your child's self-protective instincts while teaching him or her what to do in these situations. Of course, you can ask older kids tougher questions like 'What would you do if an adult you don't know sent you a friend request on Facebook?' or 'If you are heating up mozzarella sticks in the microwave and they catch on fire, what would you do first?'
Involve them in safety routines
If you are the only one in the home who checks the windows and doors before going to bed or leaving to run errands, your kids won't fall into the good habit of doing the same. As A Platform for Good notes, even very young children can be taught how to lock a door. When you are heading out to school or the store with your children, ask 'Are all the windows and doors closed and locked?' and let them check with you. If your kids are old enough to remember the alarm code, you can also show them how to arm the system.
Remember, safety is an ongoing topic
Kids are very bright and they are amazing little sponges when it comes to learning new things. By teaching your preschoolers the basics of safe behavior and continuing the dialogue into their child, tween and teen years, you will be continually reinforcing this important topic with them and helping them develop great safety habits that they will someday use in their own homes.