How To Raise Drug-Free Kids
April is Drug Prevention Month. Heartland Family Service believes drug education should start with preschoolers. How do parents actually begin the process of drug education with children that young?
Help preschoolers identify, label and express their feelings. Let them make decisions so they learn how to make right choices.
Teach them to understand what is healthy and what is unhealthy for their bodies. We provide drug education through our HALO program—Healthy Alternatives for Little Ones. It’s offered at child care centers all around the metro area.
What about those early elementary years--kindergarten to third grade. What kind of discussions should we be having with children at this age?
Kids are very interested in how the body works. It’s a good time to discuss things that are harmful to their bodies. Be sure your discussions stay in the "here and now.’ Relate to people and events the child knows about.
It is said that grades 4 to 6 is the most important time for parents to focus on increased education. Give us some steps we can use with our children to make it easier for the child to refuse an offer of alcohol or drugs.
- Teach them to ask questions about something suspicious: "What is it? Where did you get it?"
- Tell them to say "No": they shouldn't discuss or argue. Say "no" and show they mean it by walking or turning away
- If the person won't accept "No" then make sure your child has reasons why he or she has made the decision not to use drugs: "It will hurt my body/interfere with my game/my parents will go berserk."
- Suggest something else to do—this shows that the child rejects the drugs, not the friend.
You know how it works; you walk in the door and say "Boy, what a horrible day. I think I'll have a glass of wine." How do young children hear that?
Children identify our motives for behavior. Using alcohol as a stress reducer models the wrong behavior. - Definitely don't have a couple of beers or a glass of wine & then drive to the soccer game or the grocery store.
For more information on drug-free children, call 553-3000 or toll-free (877) 553-3001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Reprinted with the permission of the Heartland Family Service. © 2008 Heartland Family Service
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