Preventing underage drinking involves reaching students at a critical time. It works best when age-appropriate interventions are begun early in life. These interventions must be consistently implemented across their lifespan. Teachers play a critical role because of the time spent with many children early in life.
Essential Things to Know About Underage Drinking
The following tips can help teachers plan lessons with underage drinking prevention and education:
It’s not hard to start to start a conversation
Children are ready to speak about underage drinking prevention—underage drinking is not a mature topic, whether you are a teacher, parent, or student. With the right approach, the conversation is quickly started. Over 75% of parents have spoken to their children about underage drinking.
Focus on the impact alcohol has on the brain
Students will become interested in the impact their brain has on the rest of their body, physically, emotionally, and mentally. A brain is not fully developed into the mid-twenties, and alcohol significantly impacts development.
Emphasizing a healthy body prevents underage drinking
Get students thinking about healthy living, for example, what they eat, movement matters, and how they manage emotions.
Peer pressure starts early
Young children as old as nine years old face peer pressure. As children age, they begin to form stronger and more complex relationships with their peers. They also become more aware of their bodies when they begin to enter puberty.
Teach different ways to say no
Children and teens must know there are countless ways to say no to alcohol. There is no one solution to handling peer pressure. Yet, there are individual strategies that work with individual personalities to say no to alcohol.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Underage Drinking
There are two critical steps that educators can take to prevent underage drinking, and here they are:
- Recognizing the signs of alcohol abuse or use.
- Drastic mood changes.
- Poor attendance, low grades, and behavioral problems.
- Disregarding school rules and authority.
- Poor concentration, memory lapses, and lack of coordination.
- New friend groups and reluctant to allow parents to meet new friends.
- Talking to students and always being available to speak with students.
- Be a good source of information and provide data that is based on proven facts.
- Show the student you care about their physical and mental health.
- Help them build ways to say no and manage peer pressure.
Alcohol Is Widely Used Among Youth
Alcohol is the most commonly used substance among young people in the United States. Youth Risk Behavior Surveys found that among highs school students:
29% drank alcohol.
14% binge drank.
5% of drivers drove after drinking alcohol.
17% rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.
The risks are real, and proper education and prevention are critical for school-aged children.