If you're like me, you don't get the same week(s)-long breaks that your kids do throughout the year. And if you're like me, you spend time wondering if they're making good choices when you're not around. If you're concerned about the temptation to experiment with drugs and alcohol, there are steps you can take to help keep your child(ren) safe and drug-free this Spring Break, while you may be stuck at work.
1. Talk to your kids about the health risks associated with drugs and alcohol.
Do they know that tobacco-related illnesses kill more than 450 thousand Americans each year? Do they know that nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs out there? Do they know that electronic cigarettes, including the Juul brand, are nicotine-delivery devices designed to get people hooked? Do they know that marijuana is associated with learning problems and short-term memory, and that driving while under the influence of marijuana is just as risky as driving while drunk? Do they know that their brains are more susceptible to addiction and the dangers of drugs just because they are not fully developed? Did you know?
Let them know that you don't approve of using drugs or alcohol, especially underage.
Need help having that conversation? Visit this site for some practical tips.
2. Give them fun choices to stay occupied during their week off.
Instead of leaving their plans up in the air, have a list of activities from which they can choose. Know where they'll be at any given time of the day, and spend time each evening talking about their activities. What was the best part of their day? What was the worst? How can they make tomorrow better?
There are also youth ministries and other community organizations who often have activities planned for school breaks. Check with your Chamber of Commerce, local school districts, and AgriLife Extension offices. These could be some of your child's most memorable days, as they serve others or enjoy a jam-packed ski-trip with friends. STAR Council offers a Spring Break Camp every year. Call us for more information.
3. Take some time off work to enjoy with your kids.
This isn't always an option for some, but if you have the means, why not take a day or two (or more) off and spend some quality time with your mini? You could plan a trip, visit a zoo, museum, park, or plan to stay home and do nothing—together.
4. Plan for them to spend time with distant relatives.
Maybe you can't take off from work, but you're relatives have been dying to spend some time with their grand kids/niece/nephew, etc. This could be a great opportunity for your kiddos to be spoiled for a few days, to rejuvenate from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and to get a different perspective on life from someone else who cares about them (almost) as much as you do.
5. Get to know your kids' friends' parents.
If your kids will be spending a lot of time with friends, it's important for you to know which friends and which adults will be around for supervision. Establishing a "Circle of Security" with other parents is a great way to ensure that environments will be drug- and alcohol-free. Of course, you'll need to agree on boundaries and build trust with these other parents, but the time and effort spent will be worth knowing your kids are safe, healthy, and well-cared for.
Obviously, you want the best for your kids, so be sure they get the best care while having fun and relaxing during their time off.
What are your kids doing for Spring Break, and what are you doing to combat the temptation to use drugs and alcohol? Reply in the comments.