Five Ways To Teach Kids About Drugs And Alcohol
Children are generally very impressionable and in today’s world they are exposed to so much media and messaging. While there’s plenty of toy ads that catch the attention of children, they are also exposed to messages concerning drugs and alcohol.
SiIt’s important for parents and teachers to help kids of all ages separate fact from fiction when it comes to drugs and alcohol. While much progress has been made in educating people about the health issues concerning drugs and alcohol, there’s still progress to be made. In today’s media, there are still pictures and ads that portray smoking and drinking as a cool activity.
Children’s brains are incredibly flexible, or plastic, between birth through age six. With that in mind, it’s important to establish an ongoing conversation with children. Doing so allows teachers or parents to find relatable, everyday teachable situations that can help children understand the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
If you’re a parent or a teacher looking to teach your children about drugs and alcohol or start a conversion about drugs and alcohol, here are some helpful tips:
- Set Rules: If you’re a parent, set some ground rules in your house and explain to your child or children why you don’t want them to use any alcohol or drugs. On the flipside, also examine your own actions and try to be a role model. If you smoke or drink, consider not doing either of them around your kids or consider quitting both of them. Children are very impressionable and if they see their parents smoking or drinking, they might feel tempted to emulate what they’re doing.
- Use visual aids: About 65 percent of students are considered to be visual learners. If you’re a teacher, consider using lots of visual aids when educating students about drugs and alcohol. A drug identification guide can be a great tool to help students identify different drugs and the dangers of each of them. The same is true of a health class where a womens anatomy chart or an exercise calorie chart might be effective visual aids.
Along with a drug identification guide, a smoking chart can also be an effective visual aid and even something like drunk glasses can help students (especially high schoolers) a real world sense of the effects of alcohol.
- Saying no: The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program does a great job of teaching kids to say no to drugs. But that message must be reinforced at home. Kids may not know what to say if and when they’re offered drugs or alcohol and they may not know how to get out of potentially dangerous situations. Make sure a child knows how to say no and can remove himself/herself from sticky spots.
- Making decisions: As children grow older they become more independent and they want to make their own decisions. When it comes to letting children make decisions such as with buying things, encourage them to make their own choices. The same principle can be applied to peer pressure. If a child is hanging with a shady crowd that’s in to drugs and alcohol, encourage a child to say no to drugs and alcohol and to make their own choices, regardless of what others think.
- Just the facts: The best kind of drug and alcohol education is one that’s based on fact. Visual aids like a drug identification guide can present a child with stone cold facts about the dangers of drugs. Kids, especially young kids, love to learn and presenting them with truths about drugs and alcohol can better educate them on something they’re confronted with in the real world.
For teenagers, keep conversations about drugs and alcohol in the present tense. If you can help keep a conversation about drugs and alcohol in the present tense, it will help them really understand the effects of drugs and alcohol such as smelly clothes, red eyes, impaired judgement, smokers mouth etc.
From visual aids like a drug identification guide to fact-based conversation, there are any number of ways you can teach a child about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. The key is finding a way that makes the subject relatable so that a child/children can understand it.