We all want our children to be safe, but do we know how to ensure that safety when it comes to strangers knocking on the door? In this blog post, we will discuss why it's important to teach your child not to answer the door to strangers, ways you can approach the topic, and tips you can implement today to help keep them safe.
Why It's Important to Teach Your Child about Door Safety
As parents, we want to do everything we can to protect our children from harm. While we can't predict every possible scenario, teaching our children about door safety is a crucial step toward ensuring their safety at home. Children may not understand the dangers that exist in the world, so it's up to us as parents to educate them. Your child must understand that they should never answer the door to strangers, even if the person claims to be a friend or family member. Scammers may pose as delivery people, neighbors, or even police officers to gain entry into your home. By teaching your child about door safety, you're helping to protect your home from potential break-ins.
How to Start the Conversation with Your Child about Door Safety
At this point, you might be wondering how you start this conversation. A good way to start a conversation with an older child is to simply ask what they would do if someone they don't know came to the door. Here are a few more creative ways to approach this topic:
- What If: You can ask your child "what if" questions, such as "What if someone came to the door and said they needed help?" or "What if someone came to the door and asked if you wanted to come to play with them?" These questions can help your child think about different scenarios and how to respond to them.
- Use Examples: To make the conversation more relatable for younger children, you can reference stories or movies. For example, you could talk about Little Red Riding Hood or the wolf in sheep's clothing from the Three Little Pigs story. Using examples like these can help your child understand the importance of not talking to strangers or letting them into the house. After the story, you can discuss what the characters did right and what they could have done differently to stay safe. Use it as a teachable moment!
Safety Measures You Can Take Today:
Now that you have a starting point for approaching the conversation, let's discuss some proactive measures you can take:
- Ensure the Door Is Locked: The first step is to ensure your child understands the importance of keeping the door locked at all times. Invest in a child-friendly lock that your little one can easily use. Teach them how to lock and unlock the door.
- Use a Peep Hole or Window: If your home has a peephole or a window by the door, teach your child to use it to identify who is at the door. Make it a game and practice guessing who might be there before looking.
- Run and Get Mom and Dad: Teach your child that if they hear a knock on the door, they should run and get Mom or Dad immediately. They should never answer the door by themselves, even if it's someone they recognize. The exception to this rule would be a situation where the child requires help. In that case, it would be a good idea to teach your child how to identify an actual police officer.
- Familiarize Your Child with Local Police Badges: Teach your child that they must ask for identification from anyone who claims to be from the police department. Teach your child what a badge from your local police department looks like and express that they are allowed to request a name and badge number.
- Teach Your Child to CALL 911: This would help confirm to the child if the police officer is legitimate once the department confirms they have dispatched an officer to that location. Explain that this is only for emergencies when Mom and Dad are not around. This would be a great time to also teach your child his address.
- Get a Landline: Another helpful tip would be to have a landline that way the child’s phone call and location are easily traced by local authorities.
- Take Your Child to the Local Police Department: This visit can help your child get to know the officers in the area, understand their role in the community, and ask any questions they might have. Reach out to your local police department and ask if they have any unique identifiers that can help your child know when it's safe to open the door. For example, they may use a special code word or badge to indicate that they are a trusted authority.
- Use Code Words for Friends and Family: Teach your child to use code words for friends and family who may need to come to your home unexpectedly.
By using these strategies, you can help your child understand the importance of door safety and prevent any unwanted visitors from entering your home.
The Bottom Line
Teaching children about door safety helps to foster a sense of responsibility in them. When they understand that it's their job to keep themselves safe, they are more likely to take other safety precautions seriously. Always remember, it's never too early to start talking to your child about safety! So take the time to have this conversation with your child today - it could make all the difference tomorrow.