YOU make a difference with your child
The time to talk to your elementary school child about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs depends on your child and your family's lifestyle. However, it's never too early to talk to your child about making choices that are both healthy and safe. After all, parents are the single biggest influence on the choices a child makes.
Especially for young children, drug and alcohol prevention are part of a bigger effort to be healthy that includes nutritious food, regular exercise and routine doctor visits. Here are some important things to talk about with children of any age:
- You have the choice of what goes in your body.
- A lot of activities keep us healthy. This includes exercise and physical activity, but also having positive relationships with friends and peers, as well as adults, at school, home or church.
- Many things can go in a body, including food, medicine, vitamins, alcohol and other drugs. Medicine and vitamins sometimes taste like candy, so it's important to only take the amount that a doctor or parent provides.
- Never take any medicine or vitamins from a friend or a stranger.
In primary grades, children pay very close attention to the things their parents say and do. And although they are typically eager to please, their choices and behavior will become more and more influenced by friends and messages in the media and popular culture. Don't miss the opportunity at this age to lay a strong foundation for a healthy lifestyle.
- Click here for practical tips to guide your 5-8 year old toward a healthy, drug-free life.
- Get the conversation started! Here are some specific ways to start talking about drugs and alcohol with your younger elementary child. As always, your family's expectations and values are the most important thing, so please tailor these guidelines as needed.
Older elementary students are becoming more and more independent, making the approval of friends and peers even more important. It is normal for them to question their parents' views and messages, but don't let this stop you from staying connected to provide guidance, expectations and support.
- Click here for a list of eight things you can do with your 9-12 year old to encourage healthy and safe choices.
- Don't know what to say? Click here for a few tips on starting specific conversations with your older elementary child about drugs and alcohol. As always, these are just guidelines and should be adjusted to reflect your family's values and expectations.