Healthy Alternatives for Little Ones

Empowering young children to make healthy choices.

Never Too Early for Substance Abuse Prevention

Posted October 22, 2013, in Announcements.

According to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, early childhood experiences affect the quality of brain architecture and establish either a sturdy or fragile foundation for all of a child’s learning, health and behavior that follows. Additionally, the basic principles of neuroscience indicate that early preventive intervention will be more efficient and produce more favorable outcomes than remediation later in life.

Research by the Yale Infant Cognition Center has shown that children as young as 6 months of age are aware of the difference between “right and wrong.” Through HALO “right and wrong choices” are translated into the words “healthy” and “harmful” choices. These terms provide young children a vocabulary to understand the surrounding influences in their daily lives, and the knowledge to say “yes” to healthy choices and “no” to harmful ones, such as alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse. Studies show that attitudes toward the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs are formed at a very young age – years before a child is ever tempted to try them. Children as young as age three can understand discussions about alcohol and tobacco since most have seen people smoking or drinking either at home or in the media. Read our Never Too Early for Substance Abuse Prevention flier.

Parents have responded positively to the “HALO Parent Involvement Letters” that are sent home after each HALO lesson. One mom from the Winnebago Tribe, who used to smoke in their family home, began smoking outdoors when she learned about the dangers of second hand smoke from her child. Other HALO parents have reported that their children retained the HALO lessons they learned for years, and several HALO students have convinced their parents to stop smoking. Read our white paper, “How Families Impact a Child’s Brain Development.”

In HALO children learn to make healthy choices about drug prevention, stress management, family communication and feelings. Our Native American HALO sites (Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition in Omaha, NE, the Winnebago Tribe, NE, Snohomish County Alcohol and Drug, WA and the Hualapai Human Services in Peach Springs, AZ) that use the HALO curriculum prepare their children with the decision-making skills they will need to say “NO” to unhealthy choices, as they grow and encounter more and stronger negative influences in their world. Some tribal communities have begun to add substance abuse prevention for preschool age children in their Tribal Action Plans (TAPS).

To learn more about the HALO curriculum, contact us at 888-553-3001.

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