mother-child-talking-rexWouldn’t it be great if we had the same engaged conversations with our kids as Dr. Doolittle had with the animals? We always promote talk early, often and right, but what does that mean exactly?

I had an opportunity to really think about that as I was having a conversation with a mom about how we are “drugging” our kids from the time they are little. Now, I am not saying no to Tylenol, but I do think we miss golden opportunities to talk to our kids.

Imagine the scene:

  • Your three year old has a fever and they are hanging all over you and you give them two teaspoons of Tylenol, something to drink, and a kiss on the forehead. What have they learned; Mommy loves me (so does Daddy), and take medicine (translate when older to”take a pill and feel better”).
  • Now, let’s change the picture. As we prepare the medicine, we sit down with them and take one minute and say “let’s read the directions.”  “This is for fever and kids your age can take one teaspoon to help the fever go away, but we can only take it for two days, and we have to make sure to drink a lot of water and…”

The same goes for you and me!

This exercise applies to us as well. Kids need to see us reading the directions, locking medicines away, and respecting the power of whatever pill we are taking.  They are watching and they will learn more from what we do than what we say.

As they get a bit older, have them read the indications and directions and warnings out loud to you. Help them take ownership of the information as we continue to reinforce the importance of not embracing the “take a pill, feel better mentality.

You get the picture. They dynamic changed and we have started to teach, at a young age, understanding and respect for medicine as well as other healthy habits, and we carry that right through.  These are the little things we have to do to stem the tide and to make sure the next child isn’t yours.