It’s almost summer, and millions of kids across the country are finishing up their school year and looking forward to long, lazy days at home. It’s time for parents to start thinking about what their kids will be up to while mom and dad are at work. In order to continue to be an activist against teen drug use, parents need to be aware, be prepared, and be devoted to the well being of their kids.
The most risky time of the week for kids to begin experimenting with drugs is between the hours of 3 and 6 on weekdays, according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. During the school year, this is the time that kids are home from school and are most often bored, unsupervised, and ready to try something risky.
Knowing this, parents should be concerned about the upcoming summer if they have to work and leave their adolescents home alone. However, there are things parents can do to keep their kids drug-free this summer, and all it takes is a little bit of planning and following these 5 steps:
- Be aware of what your child is doing during their free time, especially when you are not home. Always be ready to question your teen about suspicious behavior and be on the lookout for signs of drug abuse.
- Talk to your child about the dangers of drugs. Kids whose parents talk to them about saying no to drugs are much less likely to experiment with drugs.
- Take time off. If possible, work less hours during the summer, or plan vacation days for times when your child needs you home the most.
- Keep your child busy. Sign your teen or pre-teen up for sports camps or recreation leagues for the summer. If they are old enough, encourage them to find a job. If they can’t work yet, find jobs around the house or for neighbors that will keep them busy.
- Enlist the help of others. When all else fails, ask a trusted friend, neighbor, or relative to check in on your child. Knowing that an adult might be stopping by the house unannounced throughout the week will help prevent kids from doing some of the risky things they might otherwise try.