I love to bike. Growing up, my friends and I would spend hours cycling through our neighborhood, racing each other down side streets, and exploring unknown areas. I didn’t use public transportation, so I mainly got around using my bike. It was a school bus, race car, and pirate ship forging its way through puddles. So, you can imagine how heartbroken I was when it got stolen.
For kids, there are few things worse than losing something they love, whether that item is a beloved doll or a tech device. It’s also frustrating and heartbreaking for parents to watch their child mourn a stolen object. Thankfully, taking a few precautionary steps makes avoiding theft easy. If you’re wondering how to stop stealing from happening to your child, teach them one of these six ways to keep their things safe from theft.
1. Invest in a Good Bike Lock
A bike lock is one of the most important pieces of gear that a little cyclist can own—second only to a helmet. If your child is an avid biker like I was, a quality bike lock is an absolute must.
What kind of bike lock is best? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. Some bike locks unlock with a code, while others use a key. If your child is prone to losing things (it happens to the best of us), picking up a bike lock that uses a simple code is the best route. It’s easier for some children to remember a short sequence of numbers than to keep track of a small key. On the other hand, some kids may prefer having a key. What would work best for your kiddo?
Once you’ve decided whether you’re going to go with a code lock or a key lock, do some research and determine which bike lock best fits your price range and safety requirements. The Internet is a great place to do research, but if you prefer talking to an expert, give your local bike shop a visit! Bike shop employees really know their stuff, and it never hurts to support a local business.
2. Keep Things In Your Locker or Cubby
When I taught first grade, my students started every morning in our classroom’s cubby area. They’d place their backpacks in their personal cubby, switch into their inside shoes, and head to their desk to start the day. The cubby area was a sacred space, and nobody was allowed to wander in without permission. One of the teachers always had an eye on the cubby area, ensuring that everyone’s objects remained safe and sound and that nothing got stolen.
Your child’s cubby is a safe place for them to keep items while at school. Remind them to keep important or sentimental items in their cubby to mitigate the risk of theft.
Middle school and high school aged kids, on the other hand, likely have a locker instead of a cubby. Encourage your older kids to take advantage of their locker and keep valuable objects like phones locked up during the school day. Phones can be beneficial in the classroom, but storing them in a locker ensures they won’t go anywhere.
3. Never Leave Things Unattended
When my bike got stolen, it was because I left it outside a friend’s house without any supervision. I was too excited to play video games and couldn’t be bothered to put it somewhere I could keep an eye on it. When I returned from what was likely an epic Super Smash Bros tournament, it was gone!
Remind your children not to leave anything unattended, even if they’re only stepping away to ask the teacher a question. Abandoning an object for even a few seconds may give someone an opportunity to swipe it. Rather than leave something unguarded, kiddos should put their items in their pockets or slide them into their backpack when they’re leaving.
4. Give Objects to a Trusted Adult
In my classroom, if students were especially nervous about losing something, they could give it to one of the teachers for safe keeping. Students trusted us with all sorts of things, ranging from smart watches to colored-pencil self portraits. We’d nestle them next to the landform dioramas in our little corner office and close the door. Nobody could get in or out of the office without us seeing, so there was next to no concern of theft.
If your kiddo needs a little extra peace of mind, encourage them to give their item to a trusted adult, like a parent or teacher. If the adult is able to, they will hold on to it or put it in a secure space so that it doesn’t go anywhere.
5. Use a GPS tracker on your tech devices
Getting a toy or bike stolen can be devastating, but getting tech stolen is on a whole other level. Not only is tech expensive, but many kids use smartphones and watches to stay connected with family. Devices are also a storehouse of memories, and pictures and videos are hard to recover if stolen.
Thankfully, most smartphones have a GPS that can help in the case of theft. I’ve lost my phone a few times, but thanks to the built-in GPS service, I’ve never failed to find it again. Most major cell phones and smart devices have a GPS feature, so make sure you take advantage of this nifty function.
Troomi devices are no stranger to the trusty GPS. Every Troomi device features a GPS family location feature that can be used to track down devices when they’re lost or stolen. The peace of mind that accompanies protecting your kiddo and their device is just one thing that makes a Troomi phone the best smartphone for kids!
6. Keep An Eye On Your Friend’s Things
Life is a community experience. As human beings, it’s our responsibility to watch out for each other. Part of this responsibility is keeping an eye on each other’s things and protecting them against theft. Remind your kiddos to look out for their friends’ things. Hopefully your child’s friends will do the same for them!
If your child sees a theft in action, encourage them to be an active bystander and speak up. Confrontation can be scary, but one simple word can be all it takes to stop a thief in their tracks.
Stop Theft in Its Tracks
There’s no way around it, theft is frustrating. However, there are so many ways that parents and kids alike can reduce the risk of theft. So next time you think, “It’s so hard to know how to stop stealing,” try out one of these six practices. Help your kids say goodbye to theft by reminding them to never leave items unlocked and unattended, use tech tracker applications, and be an active bystander.
And don’t forget to come back to the Troomi blog for more parenting tips and tricks!