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Habit-Forming Behaviors in Childhood: Can They Lead to Addiction Later in Life

What can we do to help kids early on?

According to an article from theatlantic.com, a day care in Germany is using a different approach — called “toy-free” — to help kids learn to think for themselves. After the kids pick up all of their toys and put them away as they are told, they look to their teachers and ask what they should do next. Instead of their teachers leading them to their next activity, they did something completely different; they wouldn’t tell them what to do (or even hint at any ideas).

The “toy-free” approach to play time allows the kids to invent their own games and develop more sincere relationships with their peers. By giving kids an environment to make their own choices in, they will be better equipped for the more difficult decisions that they will have to make down the road. The life skills of each child will improve by allowing them to develop certain strengths that they would not learn otherwise, and this will help them to turn in the other direction of addiction.

When the toys are put away, most children would become bored. Boredom leads kids to other negative feelings and behaviors, such as frustration and getting into trouble. This method teaches kids from a young age how to handle their boredom and turn it into creativity. Problem-solving techniques and spending more time in thought are crucial to a young person’s well-being in their future!

There’s actually a deeper meaning to having kids put their toys away; the toys can actually be symbolic to drugs and/or alcohol. Studies have shown that kids use toys to distract themselves from any negative emotions that they may be feeling, similar to how people may distract themselves with dangerous substances. So, encouraging your children to make their own choices when they’re young is a beneficial way to make sure that they will make smart choices about more serious things — drugs and alcohol — later in their lives.

How Do Schools Play a Part?

What studies have shown about school programs, such as D. A. R. E.  and Red Ribbon Week can show us an abundance of information about how to teach the dangers of drugs and alcohol to kids.

See, D. A. R. E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), is all about educating kids on drugs and alcohol. Schools bring in police officers to speak about the subject, students must sign a pledge, and teachers talk to their students about it. Kids get bored with constant learning. Studies have shown that this program doesn’t work because the constant teaching of drug addiction leads to some kids drowning out the information (and even some kids become more interested).

On the other hand, Red Ribbon Week is a week dedicated to drug awareness. Students are encouraged to dress a certain way each day of the week, resulting in a fun and more effective way of getting the message out. More students participate in Red Ribbon Week and aren’t being bombarded with education, so studies have shown that this program is more beneficial.

These two programs have the same intent but are executed in two very different ways, and this can give us insight into what really works on our kids. By overloading our kids with information versus trying things that are actually fun for the kids can make a huge difference for their futures.

The habits that kids form when they are young greatly affects whether or not they are lead into addiction later in their lives.

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