Have you ever locked yourself out of your home?
As a locksmith, you wouldn’t think that something like that would happen to me. But it did, I’m ashamed to admit. However, I’m glad I locked myself out.
Once I realized I was stuck outside my house I decided to double check if I had left anything unlocked. I checked the front and back doors. All secure.
And then I checked the windows. One was unlocked. I managed to wriggle it open and no-so-majestically dive through the window and let myself in.
It was a sobering reminder. In less than 5 minutes I had successfully broken into my own home. It occurred to me: how easy would it be for someone else to enter?
Luckily for me, all it took was an accidental lockout for me to be vigilant with my security routine. But in my line of work, I am all too aware that others aren’t so lucky.
A good security routine can often be the difference between someone breaking into your house, or moving on to find another victim.
It is important to teach your kids about security and develop strong routines that they will carry on as they get older.
Here are my top tips for creating solid safety and security habits with your kids.
Teaching your child to pick up their toys teaches them to take responsibility for their possessions. A stray bike or toy left outside is an easy target for a passing opportunistic thief.
By having kids look after their belongings develops a sense of responsibility as they get older.
Show them the different locks in your house. This can include the front and back doors, windows and garage.
You can reinforce good security habits by giving them a small part of the home security to be responsible for. A good start is for your children to be responsible for closing and locking their bedroom windows every time you leave home. You will definitely want to supervise this in the beginning. Once they have the hang of it, you can start introducing more good security habits.
Show your child how an alarm works. Have an easy to remember passcode for your children. As they get older, you can get them to turn the alarm on and off every time you leave or return home.
A great idea is to have a little saying every time you leave home. “Doors locked? Windows Locked? Alarm On? Ok, let’s go!”
The most important thing you should teach your kids is never state that they are home alone. If someone wants to talk to you then the kids should say you are busy. They should never say that their parents are not home.
Your children should take a message. They should get the callers details include name, number and why they called
The kids shouldn’t give out information either such as address, phone number or their name either
These rules also apply to people who are at the door. Your children should never open the door if you are not there with them. They should speak to the person through the door. If you want to add extra security, consider installing a peephole so you and your children can see the person on the other side of the door without opening it.
If the person at the door does not go away, teach your children to call a trusted adult.
Run through a plan with your kids on what they should do in an emergency. Rehearse this with your kids so they remember. It is also a good idea to check-in a couple of months later to reinforce how to act in an emergency.
It is a good idea to have a list of numbers your children can call in an emergency.
These can include:
Stick this list next to the phone so the kids can easily see it if they need to call an adult.
Also, consider joining or starting your own local neighbourhood watch.
You children should never give out personal information when they are using the internet. This information can lead to burglaries and other unwanted issues.
If you are going on holidays for a period of time, make sure you and your kids not share this online. Even if it is within a private social network, always consider anything on social media can usually be access by anyone. Thieves can use this information to find out when you are not home and the ideal time to break into your house.
And lastly, you child should never let others know when they are home alone.
Make sure you lock all doors and windows every time you leave the home or go to bed at night. Don’t forget to set your alarm as well.
Children respond well to repetition and reinforcement so get them involved in this routine. Have them responsible for a small part of the home security (such as locking their bedroom windows) so they develop that sense of responsibility. Always double check and supervise you kids to make sure they are doing it right.
Get your kids involved. A fun exercise is to ask them if they were a burglar, how would they break in? Walk around your home and see if you can discover anything.
Hopefully, it won’t take locking yourself out, to figure out your home’s security weak points.
So what do you do to teach your kids about safety and security around the home?
About the author:
Nathan Hughes is a founder of Locksmiths in Sydney
When he is not letting you back into your house at 4 am in the morning, he is dressed up as