If you have kids or grandkids, it’s likely they’ve been taught the risks of smoking and they may have been asking you to quit. They may be very enthusiastic for you to become smokefree. As you start to plan your quit smoking attempt, enjoy that enthusiasm! Also take the time to sit down with them and explain that you want to be smokefree too, but it may not be easy, and you need their support.
Explaining the ups and downs of quitting smoking to young children is no easy feat, but it’s an important conversation to have that takes care and patience. Read on to get tips for talking to kids as you start your quitting journey.
“I might not feel like myself.”
Start by explaining that quitting smoking is hard because it is a part of your daily life and you will need time to adjust. Also let them know that when you quit, you may not feel like your best self for a while. You may be frustrated at times. Let them know that quitting is hard work that can affect your emotions for a little while. Try to relate to them. Ask: “How do you feel when you’re hungry and waiting for dinner?” Talk to them about these feelings and about how they don’t last forever. Explain that your feelings will go away with time too, you just need to be patient. Let them know these feelings should not last long, and then you’ll be on your way to feeling like your best self.
“I might have a slip-up or need to start over.”
While you know that it is possible to have a slip-up or need to make another quit attempt, children might not understand that it can take several attempts before quitting for the long term. For enthusiastic kids, a slip-up or relapse may be disappointing. Let your young kids or grandkids know ahead of time that you may make a mistake and need to start again. Anticipating this possibility may help them overcome any disappointment and become better motivators the next time around! Tell them that it’s like learning to ride a bike – you may fall a few times, but you’ll get back up and try again.
“I’m excited to feel better.”
Remind your loved ones of the many health benefits of becoming smokefree. Soon, your breath and clothes will smell better (making cuddles and hugs even more enjoyable!) and perhaps you can spend more time with them outside walking, bike riding or playing catch when you can breathe easier. Show them how enthusiastic you are to be smokefree, and remind them that their help in getting through the tough days will help you become your best smokefree self.
“I’d love for you to help.”
Who says your support squad can’t include kids? Ask your children or grandchildren if they would like to help you on your journey. Giving them little jobs like pouring you water or enjoying a healthy snack together - such as carrots, celery or grapes - may help them feel involved in your quit. Ask them to do arts and crafts or take a walk with you to help pass any urges to smoke. If they’re older and tech-savvy, they can even connect with you on the Quitter’s Circle app!
“This is why I want you to never start smoking.”
There’s no better time than now to start telling your kids and grandkids about the risks of smoking cigarettes. Begin teaching them to never start at an early age, and how to say no to a cigarette when they get older. Use your story as an example – tell them about how and why you started smoking, the negative effects it had on your health and wallet, and how hard it may have been to quit. Seeing you go through the quitting process may help reinforce why they should never start.
Have you talked to young family members about your quit journey? Share your conversation and help others talk to their loved ones on the Quitter’s Circle Facebook social community!