How to talk with children ages 0 to 5.

Parenting is a lifelong job. At every stage, there are new issues and challenges to deal with. Even at very young ages, it’s important to model good behavior and talk to your child about making positive choices.

From 0 to 3 years old.

Of course, you can’t talk to your baby or toddler about drugs and alcohol. Instead, what you can do is develop a foundation of trust and communication with your child. These elements can be valuable when having a serious conversation in the future.

This is also the period of rapid brain development. Interactions like responding to your baby’s needs, singing, and talking are ways you can increase the child’s brain development so they are ready to make good choices as they get older.

Preschool ages 4-5.

You might be nervous to talk to your pre-school child – and that feeling is OK. But if you’ve built a good relationship with your child, the discussion may be easier than you think. It doesn’t have to be a serious, sit-down conversation. Look for ways to work it in naturally.

For example, if you give your child medicine for a fever or illness, you can discuss why and when these medicines should be given – and that taking them at other times can make them feel bad or sick. Look for teachable moments throughout the day such as a TV character who is smoking or drinking alcohol. Keep the tone of these discussions calm and use words that your child can understand.