Whether your kids are preschool age, tweens and teens or everything in between, you want them to feel as safe and secure as possible when they are home. To do this, you know you have to teach them about serious subjects like strangers coming to the door and when and how to call 911. At the same time, you want to do it in a light-hearted way that will get your point across but not freak them out.
Fortunately, there are a number of games and activities that can take the serious subjects of home safety and security and explain them in a way that kids of all ages can understand.
Online games teach fire safety
If your kids adore playing games on your tablet or phone, sit down together on the couch with some cocoa, cookies and your hand-held device and check out PlaySafeBeSafe.com. The website features plenty of home fire safety activities and helpful information; for instance, it explains why fire trucks have to be so loud when they are headed to an emergency. There are also a number of games you can play with your children, including “Safe at Home,” which asks kids to go room to room in an animated home and find the various fire risks and a memory game that teaches children about items that can cause a fire.
Use your security camera system to teach about strangers at the door
Children who are older might be ready to answer the door when you are home with them and unable to answer yourself. Of course, not everyone who rings your doorbell is a friend or neighbor. If you have been thinking about adding wire-free security cameras near your front entrance, this would be an ideal time to do it. You can set them up with your child and show them how push notifications can be sent to smartphones and mobile devices when motion is detected by warm objects like cars, animals, people and more.
Once you have your security camera system in place, teach your kids how it works. Show them how they can look at the camera footage when the doorbell rings to determine if they know who is at the door—if it’s Grandma, they can answer the door, but if it’s a stranger, they should keep the door closed.
Teach about 911
The Scholastic website has a number of home safety and security games that are technically designed for teachers in schools, but that you can definitely do at home as well. For example, the “It’s an Emergency” game will help you teach your kids about what is and is not an emergency that warrants calling 911, as well as how to call 911 on the phone. Start by asking children “What is an emergency?” and write down their responses like “when someone is hurt” or “when the kitchen catches on fire.” Next, explain to your kids that they will take turns pretending that there is an emergency in the home, using some of the examples that they came up with. If your kids are older, you can add in some additional emergency situations, but try not to make them too frightening. Finally, show your young kids what a phone dial pad on the phone looks like and then have everyone practice saying their full names and reciting your home address. Using the toy phone, ask your kids to pretend to call 911 and then with you on the other end of the line acting as the dispatcher, have them explain what emergency is taking place and that they need help.
In no time, your kids will be safety experts
Of course, you hope that your children will never have to use the lessons you are teaching them about home safety and security. But it will probably help you to sleep better at night to know that if a stranger is at the door, a candle is burning too low or someone needs help from an ambulance, your children will know how to calmly and competently handle the situation.