Prevention for Elementary-Age
Prevention for Elementary-Age
Kids ranging from five to eight years old are developing essential social and emotional skills as they continue to put the pieces of their world together. And while a lot of the emphasis at this stage is on the interactions kids have with other kids, they are often still very connected emotionally to family and eager to please adults in their lives. They derive pleasure from newly acquired skills and thrive with boundaries, rules and order. Children’s self-esteem in elementary school years is very closely tied to their developing competencies and peer relationships. Erik Erikson described a successful outcome of this developmental stage as children’s having a sense of industry, as opposed to a feeling of inferiority for those who navigate it less successfully. There is a strong link to self-esteem and overall emotional competencies and later alcohol or drug use so working to promote these natural developmental milestones can be prevention in and of itself.
Themes of Prevention with Elementary-Age
- Strong Family Relationships - secure, loving relationships are HUGE factors in developing the necessary emotional and social milestones at this age.
- Set Clear Rules & Expectations - they look to you for boundaries and structure!
- Promote Positive Social Relationships - their social relationships are a huge source of self-esteem.
- Connect to Protect - staying connected to their school work and learning as well as their social relationships can protect them from some of the dangers of this developmental stage.
A few more scenarios from Partnership for Drug-Free Kids...
|SCENARIO||WHAT TO SAY|
|Your child has expressed curiosity about the pills she sees you take every day — and the other bottles in the medicine cabinet||Just because it’s in a family’s medicine cabinet doesn’t mean that it is safe for you to take. Even if your friends say it’s okay, say, “No, my parents won’t let me take something that doesn’t have my name on the bottle.”|
|Your child dresses herself for school in a pink zebra print tank top, a polka dot vest, striped leggings and an orange beret.||“You look great. I love how you express your personality in your outfits.” Celebrate your child’s decision-making skills. Whenever possible, let your child choose what to wear. Even if the clothes don’t quite match, you are reinforcing your child’s ability to make decisions for herself.|
Tips for Conversations with Early Elementary-Aged Children
- Talk to your kids about the drug-related messages they receive through advertisements, the news media and entertainment sources. Ask your kids how they feel about the things they’ve heard — you’ll learn a great deal about what they’re thinking.
- Keep your discussions about substances focused on the present — long-term consequences are too distant to have any meaning. Talk about the differences between the medicinal uses and illegal uses of drugs, and how drugs can negatively impact the families and friends of people who use them.
- Set clear rules and explain the reasons for your rules. If you use tobacco or alcohol, be mindful of the message you are sending to your children.
- Work on problem solving: Help them find long-lasting solutions to homework trouble, a fight with a friend, or in dealing with a bully. Be sure to point out that quick fixes are not long-term solutions.
- Give your kids the power to escape from situations that make them feel bad. Make sure they know that they shouldn’t stay in a place that makes them feel uncomfortable or bad about themselves. Also let them know that they don’t need to stick with friends who don’t support them.
- Get to know your child’s friends — and their friends’ parents. Check in once in awhile to make sure they are giving their children the same kinds of messages you give your children.
Source of Scenarios & Tips: Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, 2017