It’s important, when making any major changes to your home or lifestyle, to ensure that you loop your children in on it. Home security updates are no exception to this rule. After all, the effectiveness of your home monitoring or alarm system is going to be directly correlated to how well those who live in your home use and care for it. Whether you’re about to install your first home security system or you’re a seasoned veteran when it comes to protecting your residence, take some time to introduce your children to the concept. We recognize that’s easier said than done, so here are some things to consider before you speak with them:

Are they ready?

We certainly encourage making your children aware of whatever level of home security you’ve decided to implement, but consider exactly how much they need to know. One strong factor to take into account here is to what extent, if at all, they’ll be interacting with the system when not accompanied by an adult. Odds are, if you’re leaving your children at home unattended, then they will be interfacing with the home security equipment on their own. In this case, you should have a discussion with them about responsible use and care for it. Washington, DC-based Safe Kids Worldwide says that children are typically ready to be left home alone around the age of 12 or 13. If you’ve got a child in that age range or older, have a talk with them.

Talking points

If you do choose to have this discussion with your children, it doesn’t need to be a painfully drawn out one. Prepare yourself beforehand by having a plan regarding what you intend to cover. Be sure to frame the conversation positively; explain to your children that understanding how the system works is a responsibility for the whole family, and that you’re excited for them to be a part of it. Make clear that the equipment is aimed at protecting the home from various dangers, but don’t frighten or intimidate them, as this might cause a negative reaction. Above all else, be open to their questions regarding why you’ve chosen to purchase a home security system and what exact purpose it serves.

Familiarize them with the equipment

Regardless of what specific components you intend to purchase for your home security system, you need to make sure that your children understand their functionalities. After you’ve explained to them that upkeep and use of the system is a privilege and responsibility for the whole family, they should take to this task far more readily. Again, you’ll want to frame the discussion in a way that is relatable for them. For example, while showing your children the Simon XT Control Panel, explain that they can check that the system is armed upon their arrival home from school or practice.