Drug Prevention for Parents Begins with a Healthy Foundation
In the United States, about 21 million Americans had a substance abuse problem in 2015. Of these 21 million, the issues of about one in three individuals were related to drug use. No parent wants their children to grow up to experiment with drugs or alcohol, but you don’t have to be afraid. Healthy, happy children are less likely to experiment with drugs. Stay calm and follow these tips on how to give your kids a healthy foundation, brought to you by Moms Exchange.
Create a Bond Between Your Children and the Outdoors
Being cooped up all day isn’t healthy. So, encourage your children to engage in outdoor play and new learning opportunities. If you catch your children looking to the skies with wonder and awe, use it as an opportunity to begin lessons on astronomy.
Other ways to lay a foundation for a love of the outdoors include backyard nature activities, family hikes, camping trips, nature center visits, trips to the zoo, and more. There are plenty of ways to encourage your child to embrace nature.
Establish the Foundation for a Healthy Body and Mind
Try to instill healthy choices into your children by choosing good foods for them to eat. Even the pickiest eaters have nourishing options that they love. If you can dress the food in a fun way, your kids are more likely to gobble it up. Try yogurt with pineapple and apples, sweet potato fries, or pretzels in peanut butter.
To keep your child at a healthy weight, never bring up dieting. Do not shame children for their weight or discourage eating. Food should never be given as a reward or used as a punishment. Instead, encourage nutritious meals for your children.
Physical activity is also critical for your child’s physical and mental health. Regular aerobic activity helps with brain development and may aid in concentration.
Lead By Example
As a parent, you are responsible for modeling the behavior you want to see in your children. From how you interact with others to healthy habits to taking care of daily and weekly chores. Children watch and listen to everything you do, so take the opportunity to lead by example. For instance, school-aged children can benefit from seeing their parents going back to school. This shows dedication and tenacity, particularly when they see you with your own homework and studies. More parents are choosing to get a new degree or achieve an advanced degree, and there are plenty of programs to help you balance family, work and school.
Hold Age-Appropriate Conversations About Drugs
How you teach your children about drugs depends on their ages. These ideas can help you talk with them about substances:
• Tell your children that just because a medicine is good for someone else does not mean it is good for them.
• Explain how the wrong medications can be harmful when not taken appropriately.
• You can discuss illicit drugs with preteens. Explain why some people struggle with drug use. Describe the adverse effects and clarify why it is not acceptable in your household.
If your children are comfortable discussing drugs with you, they may be more likely to come to you if they encounter drugs in middle or high school. While it is critical to set clear rules and boundaries, you want to be available to your children for anything.
You are the one who lays the foundation for the rest of your children’s lives. If you establish healthy habits early on, then your kids are less likely to explore harmful substances. Children with a meaningful and healthy relationship with their parents and peers tend to have a more stable future.
Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison.
Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book.