April is Alcohol Awareness Month. While alcohol use trends have been on the decline, it is still something that schools and families should keep talking about. One of the ways to make sure young people grow up healthy and safe is to have high levels of family support. According to the Search Institute, spending quality time together is the first-and most important- step toward establishing a great family support system.
Here are some Tips for building this asset from the Search Institute
Be consistent. Be loving. Develop openness so that the children in your family know that you’re available and you’ll love them—no matter what. If you’re exhausted or angry, say so. Tell children what you’re feeling so that your body language and words are consistent. Inconsistent messages are often misinterpreted by youth to mean that they have done something wrong.
Also try this
In your home and family: Spend one hour a week alone with each of your children. Take a walk, listen to music, cook together, or just hang out.
In your neighborhood and community: Try to arrange a babysitting swap with a neighbor. It’s important for parents and guardians to have time away from children, doing things they enjoy alone and with other adults. This will make family time that much sweeter.
In your school or youth program: Assign students and participants activities that encourage family sharing. For example, one Minnesota class studying a Native American tribe learned that tribal members passed down stories from one generation to the next. The teacher assigned students to ask their parents for family stories to share with the class.
When the time comes to talk about alcohol, here are some tips about “Talking to Kids about Alcohol: 5 Conversation Goals” from Talk.They Hear You. Talk.They Hear You is a campaign to provide parents and caregivers information and resources to reduce underage drinking and substance use among youth and contains many useful resources for parents and educators.