Parent's Guide

(Management & Control)

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8. Preschoolers

Drug education may seem unnecessary for preschoolers, but the attitudes and habits learned early can have an important bearing on the decisions children make later.

Three and four year olds are not yet ready to learn complex facts about alcohol and other drugs, but they can learn the decision-making and problem solving skills that they will need to refuse alcohol and other drugs later. Remember that children in this age group are not able to listen quietly for very long; they are more intertested in doing things for themselves.

It’s tempting for busy parents to do things for young children because it’s quicker and easier. With a little planning, however, you can use the learn-by-doing approach to teach your pre-schooler how to make decisions. Let your child pick from a range of options that are acceptable to you. When the choice is made, make sure your child sticks with it.


Suggested Activites

Set aside regular times when you can give your child your full attention. Playing together, reading a book, and taking a walk are special times that help to build strong bonds of trust and affection between you and your child.

  • Point out to your child poisonous and harmful substances that can be found in your home. Household products such as bleach, lye, and furniture polish all have warning labels that you can read to your child. Keep all household products that could harm a small child away from the place you store foods and out of your child’s reach.

  • Explain how medicine can be harmful if used incorrectly. Teach your child not to take anything from a medicine bottle unless you give it to the child yourself or specify someone else who can give it, such as a babysitter or grandparent.

  • Explain why children need good food and should put only good things into their bodies. Have your child name several good foods that he or she eats regularly, and explain how those foods will make your child strong and healthy.

  • Provide guidelines that teach your child what kind of behavior you expect. Teach your child the basic rules of how to get along with other children: play fair; share toys; tell the truth; treat others the way you want them to treat you.

  • Encourage your child to follow instructions. For example, invite your child to help you cook: following a recipe; measuring ingredients; cracking eggs; kneading dough can help children have fun while learning about step-by-step procedures. Playing simple board games with your child can give practice in following instructions and rules.

  • Take advantage of opportunities to use play as a way to help your child handle frustrating situations and solve simple problems. A tower of blocks that continuously collapses can drive a child to tears. You can offer a few suggestions to keep the tower up, but at the same time you should ask your child what he or she thinks is the best way to do it. Turning a bad situation into a success reinforces a child’s self-confidence.

  • To help your child learn decision making in a practical way, lay out some clothing from which the child can select what he or she wishes to wear. Don’t worry if the choices don’t quite match. Let your child know that you think he or she is able to make good decisions.


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Did you know...

Drugs Desciptions and Effects

Select a drug from the drop down menu to get more information from National Institute on Drug Abuse at :