Parent's Guide

(Management & Control)

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9. Kindergarten-Grade 3

Five to nine year olds usually feel good about themselves. They like growing up, and they generally like school and all the new opportunities it provides. They still think and learn primarily by experience, and they don’t have a good understanding of things that will happen in the future. Fact and fantasy mingle easily; the world is seen as the child wishes it to be, and not as it actually is. Children of this age need rules to guide their behavior and information to make good choices and decisions.

Discussions about alcohol and other drugs must be in the here and now, and related to people and events the child knows about. Most children are very interested in how their bodies work, so discussion should focus on maintaining good health and avoiding things that might harm the body.

Adults are very important both as teachers and as role models. Children are generally trusting, and they believe that the decisions adults make for them are right. Helping your child know whom to trust is important. They need to understand that just because someone tells them to do something, it is not always right to do it.

By the end of the third grade, your child should understand:

  • what an illicit drug is, why it is illegal, what it looks like, and what harm it can do;

  • how foods, poisons, medicines, and illicit drugs differ;

  • how medicines may help during illness, when prescribed by a doctor and administered by a responsible adult, but also how medicines are drugs that can be harmful if misused;

  • why it is important to avoid unknown and possibly dangerous objects, containers and substances;

  • which adults, both at school and outside, you want your child to rely on for answers to questions or help in an emergency;

  • which foods are nutritious and why exercise is important;

  • what the school and home rules are about alcohol and other drug use;

  • how using alcohol and other drugs is illegal for all children.


Suggested Activites

  • Children in this age group need to understand the family’s rules. You can explain the need for rules by talking about traffic safety rules and school rules with which your child is already familiar.

  • Emphasize the importance of good health by talking about things people do to stay healthy, such as brushing teeth after each meal, washing hands, eating good foods, getting plenty of rest and sleep.

    You can use this discussion to contrast the harmful things that people do, such as taking drugs, smoking, or drinking to excess.

  • Discuss how TV advertisers try to persuade children to buy their products, including high-sugar/additivesloaded cereals, candy bars, and toys named after characters in cartoon shows that children find appealing.

  • Discuss illnesses with which your child is familiar and for which prescription drugs are often necessary. Many children have had strep throat, ear infections, the flu, and colds. Discussing such illnesses can help your child understand the difference between medicine and illicit drugs.

  • Practice ways to say no with your child. Describe situations that may make your child feel uncomfortable: being invited to ride a bike where you do not allow your child to go, for example, or being offered medicine or other unfamiliar substances. Give your child some responses to use in these situations.

  • Develop a “helpers” file of people your child can rely on. Put together a phone list of relatives, family friends, neighbors, teachers, religious leaders, and the police and fire departments. Illustrate the list with photos. Talk with your child about the kind of help each person on the list could provide in case of various unexpected situations, such as being approached by strangers or losing a house key.


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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 :