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Tips for Talking with Your Kids & Building Healthy Habits

communication coping skills family healthy habits mental health resources Mar 24, 2022

While at home together, take time to talk with your children about healthy choices. Now that children are back in school it is even more important to start the conversations. Here are some tips for talking with your kids about vaping, drugs and alcohol:

  • Remember: Parents are the #1 reason that kids choose not to use drugs.

  • Start young and make talking about it a regular habit.

  • Find the right times for relaxed conversations that won’t be interrupted. If sitting at the family dinner table feels too intense, try talking while driving, walking the dog or cooking together.

  • Comment on media stories and popular culture news. Frame it as a health issue. Start the conversation in ways your child can relate to.

  • Listen. Be patient.

  • Be clear about your expectations for them to make healthy choices.

  • Ask open ended questions, and avoid being intrusive or blaming. “What would you do if a friend offered you…?” Focus on ‘what if’ questions and what they could say or do. 

  • Be informed and answer questions.

Explain that times of stress and uncertainty, like the COVID-19 pandemic, can lead to poor choices. It’s important to take time to take care of yourself and build up healthy habits and ways of managing stress, anxiety, and depression that don’t involve substance use. 

The journey of the last year has been difficult for all of us and extremely difficult for some. Many of us have developed new habits, both good and bad.

As a family, take time to reflect on where you are now and where you’d like to be. Which habits you’d like to continue and grow and which habits you might want to pull back or drop entirely. It’s time to live your best life! What habits did you develop this year? It might be helpful to identify one habit you’d like to continue and one habit you’d like to work on changing. You can then check in and support each other in reaching your goals.

If you or someone you care about are developing unhealthy habits, visit the Building Healthy Habits website for ideas and resources.