Have you got a family password?

Posted on September 29, 2010

How many passwords do you have in your life? Ignore PIN numbers for the time being – heaven forbid we should bring numbers into the equation – and concentrate on passwords. Are you a person who has the one password for everything? Usually something really clever like ‘password1’. Or do you actually follow all that IT advice and keep a different password for every single account and change them every month? If you are one of these people, please send immediate tips as to how you remember this month’s passwords.

I ask about passwords not because I’m going to share mine (hundreds of different ones, since you asked, updated regularly and written down nowhere…that’s my story and I’m sticking to it), but because an article I read today at SuperParents gave me food for thought. A great guest post by Kelly Burstow of Be A Fun Mum (clearly she had me in mind when she named her blog) on stranger danger introduced the idea of a family password.

This is a word specific to your family, to be used if you need to unexpectedly send someone they’re not expecting to collect them from somewhere. If the adult knows the password, the kids know it’s okay to go with them. If they don’t know the password, the kids run screaming for the nearest teacher or trusted adult.

This got me thinking. First, I thought how useless I would be as the person sent in the emergency because I would no doubt forget the password en route, arrive to pick up the children and fail the test. They would have to stand there in amazement as I ran through every password I know in the hopes of lighting on the right one.

Then I started thinking about what our family password might be. A word specific to our family that a stranger would not guess by chance. And yet one that would not be completely embarrassing to share with the adult on their way to collect the kids. Family language can be a strange thing. Sister C (MultipleMum) wrote recently about some of our extended family vernacular and you should have a look at it here if you are game. (One read and you won’t understand how you’ve existed to date without the verb ‘to parp’. Trust me.)

In our house, chickens are known as ‘bokkens’ because this is what Mr3 called them for a long time. They make a ‘bok, bok, bok’ noise, therefore they were bokkens. Junk mail is known as ‘reklame’, the German word for advertising. The daily weather update on the news is greeted with shouts of ‘Het weer!’ – ‘the weather’ in Dutch. (There’s not much to get excited about in Fibrotown… and there is that genetic predisposition…)

You see my problem. “I need you to pick up the kids.”
“You need a password.”
[pause] “Okay.”
“It’s ‘bokkens’.”
[long pause] “O-kay. Um, sorry, something’s just come up.”
[dial tone]

I am going to talk to the kids about this. If anyone can come up with a password it is Mr6, with his background in smugglers, spies and groups of kids with time on their hands. Once we work it out, I’ll let you know.

Actually, no, I won’t.

Do you think the password thing is a good idea? Would you struggle to come up with a suitable word? Or is that just me overthinking my attempts to Be A Fun Mum? Again.



  1. Energias renováveis

    Thanks in support of sharing such a pleasant idea,
    piece of writing is nice, thats whyy i have read it entirely

  2. Cooker and A Looker

    We had a code for sleepovers when we were kids. If we were at someone’s house, Mum always arranged to phone and talk to us. If we were OK, it was a quick chat. If something was up and I wanted to come home, I just had to say “How’s Baron?” Baron was our horse. If I asked after Baron’s welfare, Mum would immediately remember a forgotten dentist appointment, and swoop in to pick me up. My mum = parenting ninja! 🙂

  3. ♥.Trish.♥ Drumboys

    Great reminder because I still haven’t organised a password for my kids. Now you have me thinking , and it’s a long weekend.

  4. Shelly - Tropical Mum

    This is a great idea, but it’s only ever me that picks up the kids, or on occasion my husband does it. If ever my kids jokingly put him to the test, he would fail miserably. After two years, he still forgets our phone number.

  5. Amanda Kendle

    Love all the foreign word oddities in your family lingo! We have a few of them too, more after our recent trip. That’s what makes a family a family, right?

  6. Lani

    Maybe don’t blog about your family password. Better yet, inject the kids with tracking devices then put your feet up and relax. Big Brother? Nah, Big Mother.

  7. campoontherun

    Great idea. My Mr3 currently has no idea how to keep a secret so I think he would tell the adult what it is first… This one will go in the memory bank for when they are a bit older! PS I’ve just written this and then read the comments above!

  8. Giving Back Girl

    I need one for when my kids, ok, my eldest, has said one too many comments in front of other people that has strayed him close to the “there will be consequences” line. At the moment “Mate…!” isn’t cutting it!

  9. Emily

    Great idea when the kids are of school age. I’ll have to remember that one. (My eldest just turned three, and would probably prompt anyone who came to collect her with the right word. Or just make a new one up!)

    • campoontherun

      Just responded about what a great idea etc and then realised I had written the same as you! Only difference, my three year old’s a boy. Great minds 🙂

  10. foxinflats

    I actually tried a password thing with my husband – a code word for when we are at parties and decide we need to get out of there. I think it is ‘kangaroo’ But then I can’t quite remember. And working the word ‘kangaroo’ into a conversation ain’t that easy. At least our code word is not ‘Bokkens’ though.. 😉

  11. Lila Wolff

    We just had a very strict list of who would pick them up, so no one outside of that list would be trusted. But I can see the password working well and being easier for little ones to remember.

  12. Carli

    Great idea. Based on bokkens, our family would have to go with crocodada or nibbles…as in, “Mum, run the bath up to my nibbles please.”

  13. •´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Trish.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´•

    What an excellent idea …if only it would work in our house.

    a) though no one would attempt to take both of my kiddos 😉 –

    b)the kids wouldn’t remember it is aupposed to be secret , and the kids would enlighten them …

    It’s definitely something to think seriously about when they start school.

  14. Romina Garcia

    With almost four children under the age of five – our password would be bound to be of embarrassing proportions!! Although, that would probably sum us up in a nutshell haha!

  15. therhythmmethod

    All of our passwords are versions of our cat’s name. Luckily, he is such a crazy Burmese with so many personalities that he has many nicknames and lots of password combinations. Although perhaps not so lucky, because I can never remember which password goes where …

  16. Suz

    Great post. Love this idea. My boys, at 4 and 18 months are probably a wee bit too young for it yet but in the future…..definitely. This is my first time on the rewind…thanks for hosting it 🙂

  17. Looking for Blue Sky

    Love the password idea 🙂 I used to have designated people that the kids could be collected by when they were small, but I’d say they’d much prefer the idea of a password. Of course they’d never agree. My eldest girl would have wanted ‘baby spice’ and my son ‘pokemon’. Perhaps two passwords ?

  18. ClaireyH

    My kids would be sure to share it with everyone,

    “know the password, oh, that’s ok, it’s ????” now you know it, so we can go with you.

    Bit could work the other way, with teens, they are out and in a situation they just need to get out of and don’t want to go into all the details on the phone right now, but need picking up, like right now, like…

  19. Kiim H

    LOL Allison! Loved that post. It’s so me! I’m like you, I change my pin number regularly and all of that (NOT!) and I know I wouldn’t remember our family password, nor anyone else’s if I had one. My card always used to get sucked up into those machines because I couldn’t remember the password. You know the days when you had to have the password that the bank gives you. Now, I’ve got that sorted…If I had anything worth stealing I’m sure I’d be such an easy target now that I have the pincode engraved in my memory but to all of those potential thieves out there who think they can crack my one and only password: “Go ahead! There’s no money in there anyway!!!” LOL xx Thanks for the chance to rewind.

  20. Kymmie

    Oh my. I’m still giggling at Bokkens. Fabulous! I must say we have a family password, and we all know what it is. It’s certainly not as cute as Bokkens though 😉 Thanks for sharing this one again. xx

  21. Cate P

    oh god, bokkens is gold. No passwords here, unless “just friggin do it” counts as some sort of code…

  22. Cate

    we have a code for the gate and my kids know this – and guard it with all the seriousness of those guys at buck house with the big furry hats on. So I’m thinking a family password probably would work at our house – I just don’t know when we would use it. I can’t imagine any situation where I would send someone the kiddos didn’t know to collect them??
    fun idea though 🙂

  23. A Farmer's Wife

    Love bokkens.

    Farmboy used to call helicopters “doo doos” because of the noise they made…

    Loved your post.

  24. Kelly

    HA! Loved reading the comments.

    I have to admit, when we decided on a password, the children became rather fixated on it. If one of them even so much as mentioned it in jest, they were severely reprimanded by each other. It was funny.

    But now, things have settled down and I think the children really like having a “secret” family password. It make them feel special I think. And they are.

    “Bokkens” is perfect — but then — we all know it now so we can come get your kids. Ah, but was that the idea? lol

  25. Jodie

    Great idea, but I would be worried that the kids would forget the password before I did 🙂 Either that, or my son would be like Maxabella’s, and tell everyone. He’s so sharing:) Our funny word from the kids was ‘pecilan’. Bet you can’t guess what that was instead of… The Girl Child had trouble getting her ‘p’s and ‘l’s in order. lol…

  26. alliecat

    I think it’s a great idea, and I think Bokkens would be perfect! It would have to be something so random and weird you’d never forget it and nobody else would ever guess it!

    I will put that little gem into practise, now to find the right word….

  27. Susan @ Reading Upside Down

    A friend’s family had a password when she was young and I’ve always thought it was a great idea (although I still haven’t gotten around to organising one for my kids. Typical).

    My friend’s password was ‘stupid head’. That’s what you get when you have more kids than adults in the family and you take a vote.

    As for odd family words, my older son always referred to milk as ‘wonk’. Don’t ask me why. I love ‘bokkens’.

  28. MelbaToast

    I don’t have kids, but I think the idea of a family password is a great (and sensible idea).

  29. Maxabella

    A family password sounds like a brilliant idea, although with the tsunamis’ tendency to ‘share’ (e.g. At supermarket check-in last Saturday: ‘Hi, I’m Max, my Mum’s undies are pink today what colour are your undies?’) I worry that security could be easily compromised…

  30. Seraphim

    I LOVE this idea. I honestly can’t think of one though. Will need another family conference…

  31. Toni

    I have a passwords book for my computer, which I regularly lose.
    Also, we used to have a family password for my first batch of kids — which I kinda forgot about when they all left home. Must reinstate for the current batch of littlies.

    I LOVE bokkens!
    We have all kinds of weird family words too — very confusing for an outsider…..

  32. x0xJ

    What a brilliant idea!

  33. Curvaceous Queen

    Not so workable here in Curvy Land I suspect given my propensity for forgetting to dress myself properly, although if I should ever want to abandon the cherubs the forgetting of said password could be a valid excuse for not collecting them.

  34. Deer Baby

    I didn’t even know such things existed! How come I didn’t think of that?

    IT Passwords are a pain. I am forever being locked out of my own flickr, facebook, google, yahoo, paypal accounts because I just can’t remember them all. I’ve tried writing them down in code only not to have the faintest clue what it meant.

    I think ours would be ‘Help Me I’m A fish’ – but don’t tell anyone will you?

  35. magicgardencymru

    Yes, good idea – for other people. I would forget. I know I would.

    I like your MR3’s take on chickens.’Bokkens’ – perfect. That is exactly what they are.They are Bokkens. Makes perfect sense to me.

    I can think of a few words we could use but I can’t tell of them here – in case we use them…

  36. magicgardencymru

    Yes, good idea – for other people. I would forget. I know I would.

    I like your MR3’s take on chickens.’Bokkens’ – perfect. That is exactly what they are.They are Bokkens. Makes perfect sense to me.

    I can think of a few words we could use but I can’t tell of them here – in case we use them…

  37. Gen Y Journo

    oooooo no i don’t have one!

    maybe my mum would have used jazza for a lot of things.

  38. 74 Lime Lane

    I think that is a brilliant idea ~ a family password. Although no idea what we would pick either!

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