Ways to keep kids talking is a big part of Power Talk 21 Day on April 21.  A day set aside nationwide thanks to MADD to get families talking about underage drinking.  Kids Activities Blog is very excited to be involved in this sponsored conversation because parents CAN make a difference in the decisions of kids. All this information {and MUCH more} can be found at PowerTalk 21.  A Free Parent Handbook is available for download with great tips about ways to keep kids talking. keep kids talking

Ways to Keep Kids Talking

Talk About the Little Things  – Opening the lines of communication between you and your kids BEFORE there is a problem is one of the best ways to prevent problems.  They may roll their eyes or act like they are not listening, but keep talking.  Even if only a small percentage is getting through, it is worth the effort.  I find that the best place for some of these fun little chats is in the car when my boys aren’t thinking about it. Talk about the Big Things  – Discuss WHY you don’t want your child drinking.  Talk about how drinking isn’t just about that party, but can have lifelong consequences like driving under the influence, pregnancy, STDs, etc.  Kids are notorious for asking WHY, so use that to your benefit! Show Affection  – Older kids may shy away from a hug or pat on the back, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate it.  Feeling loved can ONLY help them get through their day.  Maybe hold back from the kiss on the cheek in front of their friends… Set Rules  – Rules with a reason behind them are good for teens and give them a sense of security of expectations.  When you are doing all that talking, discuss why certain rules are in place and what the consequences result in breaking them. Enforce Rules  – Setting rules and then occasionally enforcing them is cruel.  If a child doesn’t know what will happen, it puts them in a state of imbalance.  Stay calm and stick to your plan. Pay Attention to What Kids Say  – Sometimes it is easy to tune out what kids say, but in order to fully understand what they are thinking or going through, using EVERY word they utter as a clue can be helpful to developing the snapshot of their current life situations. Pay Attention to What Kids Do  – Monitoring what kids are doing is not spying, it is parenting.  Who is better qualified to watch and intervene if necessary than the parents who love them most? Share Family Dinner  – Schedule family meals at least 3 times a week.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to happen.  I love the idea of putting kids in charge of a meal menu or a portion of the meal so they are invested in it…and we have help. Share Family Fun  – Like the family dinner, having fun as a family can keep parents in the loop with their kids.  When kids can turn to parents for fun, it puts the perceived fun of alcohol in perspective. Show Respect  – Show your kid respect.  Have tons of conversations without a point, without heated words, modeling the behavior that you want to see from them.

 Additional Resources to Keep Kids Talking

I hope you will stop by PowerTalk 21 and download the  Parent Handbook:  Power of Parents Power of Parents Handbook

It is a really great resource and research has shown that parents who work through the handbook with their teens, consume less alcohol than those who don’t.

Could it really be that simple?

It is never simple, but talking about these issues with your kids does influence them.  In fact, kids report that parents are the major reason why they make certain decisions.  So, no matter how old your kids are today, starting these conversations on their level can change the way they think about things in the future.

Parents really ARE powerful!

April 21 is PowerTalk 21 Day “ the national day for parents to talk with their teens about alcohol. Research shows parents are the biggest influence on teens ™ decisions about alcohol. For more information, visit madd.org/powertalk21 This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of MADD Texas. The opinions and text are all mine.

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