Making Healthy Choices

Plan to Prevent: Practice Safe Decision Making

Making a decision, sticking with it, and communicating the response effectively can be difficult for kids, particularly those who tend to be shy. Making a decision that may seem unpopular can even be hard for adults at times. This is especially true when making decisions about underage drinking.

However, there’s nothing more important for your kids than staying true to themselves and learning how to making healthy choices. As you and your kids will learn in the Ask, Listen, Learn videos, the frontal lobe, which is part of the cerebral cortex, helps us make sound decisions. You can help arm your kids with the skills they need to make their own smart and safe decisions by role-playing with them in certain situations and sharing the facts.

For younger kids, shy kids, and those who may struggle with social anxiety, walking through a hypothetical situation with them and developing responses together can be extremely helpful and comforting. Try talking through the following situations with your kids.


  • You’re with your friends and they start drinking. They offer you a cup. What do you say?
  • Your friends tell you you’re being lame when you refuse a drink. How do you react?
  • You are at a party and you can tell someone is drinking. You think they might need help, but you’re afraid. What do you do?
  • You are with friends and want to get away from an uncomfortable situation. How do you make your exit?

Let them know that underage is drinking is dangerous – their brains are still growing which makes the effects of alcohol greater for them than for adults. This can impede development and create lasting damage. Have them watch our Alcohol and the Developing Brain series to learn more. Or better yet, watch the videos together!

For more information check out our conversation starters, answers to the tough questions they may ask you, and statistics on underage drinking.

Say Yes to Healthy Lifestyle

To be the best parent you can be, you must take care of yourself first. This means eating right, getting enough sleep, exercising, and making smart choices about how you manage stress.

Living a healthy lifestyle is even more important for your kids, as their brains and bodies are still developing. Children typically thrive with good sleep habits, daily exercise, and self-control regarding their choices. What’s more, kids this age love learning about how their bodies operate! Use their interest to teach them a bit about how living a healthy lifestyle helps their body work at its full potential.

Be Responsible

Daily duties

  • Your child surely sees you taking care of daily tasks – you water houseplants, you get your mail and pay bills, you clear the dinner table and wash dishes, you do laundry, and so much more. Perhaps you care for an older relative. Ask your child about their responsibilities, things that need their care. Homework is, of course, a must-do. Maybe they also keep the dog’s water bowl full, take out the trash, keep their room clean. These responsibilities contribute to the world around them. If they don’t get completed, things can be thrown out of whack, making it more difficult to have fun and stay


  • Teach your child the Five Ps– Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Help them create to-do lists and teach them how to use a weekly planner for homework and fun activities! This will alleviate stress along the way.

Take a Moment

  • Sleep
    • A child aged 10-14 needs about nine to 10 hours of sleep. Your kids
      may have a reluctance to go to bed early, especially if they watch
      tv or use a screen before bed. Sleep seems boring! Talk to your
      kids about how the brain is a machine. Without proper maintenance,
      which is in this case sleep, the most important machine, the brain,
      will not work properly.
  • Breathe Deeply
    • Life can be stressful, especially when you’re a tween! Talk to your
      child about mindfulness. When something stressful happens at work
      or during your day, how do you react? Do you go for a short walk or
      breathe deeply? Ask your child about a moment where they may have
      been stressed at school or with a friend. Talk about ways they
      reacted. Kids often blame themselves for their behavior. Your child
      may be relieved to know that their anger is coming from their
      limbic system. They can help their brain by taking a deep breath
      and taking a few moments before reacting.
  • Chill Out
    • Life is so busy these days – for everyone. Sometimes your brain and
      body just needs to relax! Talk with your kid about fun ways to
      unwind. Take a hike, find a great library and read a new book or
      magazine, see a free concert in a park, even drawing or painting
      can be a great way to reset your busy brain.

Brain + Body

These responsibilities may seem self-explanatory, but make sure you take the time to talk with your kids about the ways we must treat our bodies.


Work it out.  Exercise your body to be your best self.

A little, not a lot. Sugar and unhealthy foods; caffeine

None. Zero. Zilch. Cigarettes, alcohol, drugs

By living a healthy lifestyle and caring for your mind and body each and every day, you will be at your most productive, kindest, and overall best.

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