Whether you’re going on holiday or making the most of your time at home, when the children are off you need to be doubly aware of their attitude to home security, as when they’re about to kick off the local football world cup with the rest of the children in the street, locking the door behind them is the last thing on their mind. If you don’t educate your children about the basics of home security, you’ll find yourself always having to check doors and windows and the whereabouts of their toys for them, and let’s face it, parents have enough of that to do already. Educating your children about home security isn’t just about making sure they lock the door to your home, it is an invaluable life skill they’ll need when the leave home as well, so if you can set good habits early they’ll be set for life.
The first lesson is shutting and locking doors and windows. Finding out the best way to teach this lesson depends on your child, so for example, if they hate cats or dogs then you can use the idea that leaving doors open will allow these animals into the house. If your child is very protective of their bedroom or their toys, then you might take the line that if they’re not careful about securing the house when they’re in and out during the holidays, someone could come in and mess up their room and take their toys. The idea isn’t to scare your children, but to just make them understand that poor home security could be a threat to their surroundings or favourite things. Locking doors is something children should be aware of when they are old enough to reach the keyhole, and closing doors behind them is a habit that should be encouraged at a young age.
If your children are old enough to be left at home alone, then they should know how to operate your burglar alarm so it is always set when there’s no-one at home. They should know how to set and disarm the alarm, together with any passwords they might need. If you have a monitoring service, they should also know how to contact that service and what to say in the event of an alarm failure or a response from the monitoring centre.
During the summer holidays children will be in and out of the house and the houses of their friends all the time, so they should be aware of the importance of not only looking out for each other, but of letting their parent or guardian know where they are and when they are coming home. They should also be taught what they should and should not say in public regarding their holidays and when their house is empty. To a child, saying they’re going to Spain next week is an innocent comment between friends, but should this conversation happen in a public place where someone can overhear it, then it could potentially become a security risk.
Children should also learn to be responsible for their toys and possessions. If they are out riding their bikes there is a chance they’ll probably dump them on a front lawn when they need to go inside. This creates the perfect chance for an opportunist to steal their bike and this will happen so quickly that they don’t stand a chance against thieves. It is better to teach them to always take their bikes round to the back of the house or to lock them up should that not be possible.
Sometimes these requirements may need to be repeated several times before it becomes part of the children’s routine, and there’s no harm in staging a fake bike theft to make your point – these security and life lessons sometimes need to be learned the hard way. By the time September rolls around, your children may be sufficiently versed in home security that they can take on the responsibility of setting the alarm and locking the door before they go to school, which is one less things for the parents to worry about!