It’s time to get the kids back to school! These are exciting times—a new school year is a FRESH START for kids—a blank slate to define who they are and to set goals for this new chapter.
Some kids may be going to a new school, making the transition from elementary to middle, which can be a big step. All kids will be making new friends and connecting with peers they haven’t seen all summer, allowing for new experiences, opportunities, and choices. But these situations can also bring about some anxiety for us as parents and for our kids. What if the new school isn’t a good fit? What if the new friends are involved in risky behaviors, bullying, or peer pressure?
That’s OK! This FRESH START is all about being ready to make good decisions, which is why communication is so important this time of year. Check out these five ways to start positive conversations with your kids:
Parents, present a fresh outlook—focus on mental health, social and emotional learning (SEL) foundations, and ways to cope with stress and stay alcohol-free. Establish a foundation of expectations that will set the tone for the school year. Talk about
- Avoiding situations where others might be engaging in risky behavior.
- Knowing how to react when faced with peer pressure.
- Maintaining open communications throughout the year and identifying a trusted adult to talk to.
These conversations are important, but so are modeling responsible behaviors.
- Use positive talk and avoid gossip
- Show confidence when you take action or make a decision—and voice your emotions about it
- Role play with kids about how to find a safe contact, say NO, and advocate for themselves and others.
- Never overconsume alcohol, especially around children, and always plan for a safe ride home from events where alcohol may be present.
- Never serve, purchase or supply alcohol to those under the legal drinking age. It’s unsafe. It’s illegal, and it’s irresponsible.
Thanks for all you do to empower your kids to say YES to a healthy lifestyle and NO to underage drinking. We hope you and your kids enjoy this FRESH START to a new school year!
–The Ask, Listen, Learn Team