From the time we are born, we are exposed to electricity. It’s an integral part of modern life. Our parents used it, and in some cases, we use it even more. Mobile phones and tablets have to be charged. Our homes are often packed with appliances and devices that need it.
Electricity is safe when used properly. However, no one is born with the knowledge of how to handle it. It’s something that must be taught. Parents should start young to ensure that their little ones understand how to keep themselves and those around them safe. The team from Connect Electric would like to share the following methods to help teach children about the dangers of electricity.
Show Kids How Electricity Works in a Safe Environment
The best way to teach children is to use both words and visual aids. Find a diagram or image that illustrates how electricity works. This should be relatively simple but explain how energy flows through objects and how we use it to power things.
Keep in mind that your child’s ability to understand will also depend on their age. Younger kids may have a difficult time with complex topics. It’s best to keep things short and simple. When giving instructions or explaining a process, try to keep it to three steps or fewer.
Be ready to answer questions as well. Children are naturally curious and may want you to explain some things further. It can help to brush up on your knowledge beforehand, so you go in prepared and with accurate information.
If they ask a question that you don’t know the answer to, it’s ok to say so. You can find the answer together, which will teach kids that if you don’t understand something, there are ways to learn more.
Help Children Identify Objects that Use Electricity
Young children may not realize which objects in their home consume electricity. For example, many handheld devices like tablets and mobile phones do not have to be plugged in all the time. It may not be obvious that these items require energy to work.
Go around your home and ask your child which things they think use electricity. Let them know if they are correct and show them any devices that they may have missed. They need to know what uses energy if they are to know how to safely handle it.
This will also make the lessons more relatable. Your child knows which items they use around the house and will have a deeper appreciation for how you keep them powered.
Watch Electrical Safety Videos and Discuss Them
There is a wealth of information on the internet. You can use this to your advantage. Find kid-friendly electrical safety videos that round-out your lessons. You may find some that are tailored to a younger audience.
You can turn this into an opportunity to bond as a family by getting everyone involved. Gather together, watch the videos, and then plan a discussion after. You may want to pre-screen it to ensure it delivers on whatever the title and description promises. You can also prepare some related conversation starter questions.
When the video concludes, start by asking the kids if they have any questions. Once you have worked through those, you can use your conversation starter questions to keep the discussion going and to ensure that you cover all the areas that need to be covered.
Making it an interactive session allows you to share facts and information while letting kids know that they can come to you when they have questions.
Take Precautions to Help Kids Be Successful
Younger children will need more guidance when it comes to the handling of electricity. You need to set your kids up for success (and for their own safety). Use barriers like doors or baby gates to keep little ones away from outlets and devices.
You should also use outlet covers or install tamper-resistant outlets that have built-in shutters that only open when a plug is inserted.
Go through your home and make sure all your cords are neatly coiled and tucked away. It’s best to hide them under or behind furniture. If they can’t be seen, they are less likely to tempt a child to grab them.
Do Not Allow Children to Climb on Electrical Equipment
If there is any electrical equipment outside of your home, do not allow children to play on or around it. That includes electricity distribution boxes and any outdoor meters or power boxes on your home.
While these are generally locked tight, problems can happen. If one is accidentally damaged or opened, it can be a serious safety hazard for anyone in the area. Even if the electricity is safely contained, children can fall and hurt themselves on these structures. They aren’t meant to be climbed on or played with, so teach good habits about staying away.
You should also be aware if you live in an area with electric fencing. This may be more common in rural regions where livestock is kept.
Start with the Basics and Build Up as They Age
Remember to keep your child’s age and ability in mind when planning your electrical safety lessons. Younger kids will require shorter sessions with simpler explanations. You should also work in repetition to improve knowledge retention.
As children get older, they can tackle deeper, more difficult concepts. Begin with a solid foundation of safety habits and basics and then build up from there.
Keep in mind that electrical safety training doesn’t end when the child’s age reaches double digits. As they explore the world, they may encounter new hazards. For example, teenagers who are learning to drive should be taught what to do if they come across a downed power line or if one falls on their vehicle. They should never drive over the line or touch it.
Enforce Electrical Safety Rules at Home
Electrical safety starts at home. Have rules in place to protect your family members and make sure you enforce them. This may involve younger kids getting the help of adults or older siblings when they want to plug something in or use a device.
Electricity isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s an essential part of modern life. That’s why our children must learn how to handle it to ensure that they can stay safe and grow up to be healthy, functional adults.