WHAT IS FAMILY DAY?
A Day to Eat Dinner With Your Children "is a national effort to promote parental engagement as a simple, effective way to reduce substance abuse by children and teens and raise healthier children. Family Day emphasizes the importance of regular family activities in parent-child communications and encourages them to make family dinners a regular feature of their lives. Parental engagement is the single most potent weapon in preventing substance use and abuse among youth! Since 1996 research by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA*) at Columbia University has consistently found that the more often children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use illegal drugs. In 2001, CASA launched Family Day as an annual event.
Family Day teaches the importance of frequent family dinners and parental involvement in the lives of their teens. In U.S "Share More Than Meals" created a national pledge drive to encourage Americans to have dinner together on Family Day which resulted in more than 1.3 million Americans pledging to sit down as a family on Family Day.
Whether you’re gathering around the table for macaroni and cheese or a five-course meal, don’t underestimate the power behind the simple act of taking time to eat dinner with your kids regularly.
The stories and laughs that you share during dinnertime help you stay connected to your kids. Did you know that the more often kids and teens eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink and use illegal drugs?
What You Can Do as a Family
Start the pattern of family dinners when children are young.
Encourage your children to create menu ideas and participate in meal preparation.
Turn off the TV and let your answering machine answer calls during dinnertime.
Talk about what happened in everyone"s day: school, work, extracurricular activities or current events.
Establish a routine to start and end each meal. Light candles, say grace or tell a story.
After dinner play a board game or serve dessert to encourage the family to continue the conversation.
Keep conversation positive and make sure everyone gets a chance to speak.
Begin making family dinners a regular feature of your daily routine!
Adapted, excerpted and modified from the different Sources.