Thursday, September 18, 2008

Family Day - A day to eat dinner with your children

Next Monday, September 22nd is Family Day - A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children. In 2001, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University launched Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children. Their goal was to remind parents that eating dinner as a family makes a difference. Based on some research they funded starting in 1996, they found that the more often kids eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink, or use drugs.

You can go to their website and get their free Family Dinner Kit. It has a menu, recipes, conversation starters and a placemat to color.

You can also make a pledge to become a Family Day STAR:

"I commit to:

S- Spend time with my kids by having dinner together

T- Talk to them about their friends, interests and the dangers of drugs and alcohol

A- Answer their questions and listen to what they say

R- Recognize that I have the power to help keep my kids substance-free!"

I am fortunate that my children are still young enough that they don't yet have a number of activities on weekday nights. As a result, we are typically able to eat dinner together as a family every evening. There are a couple of nights each week, when my husband is in class, that he is unable to join us, but the kids and I still eat as a family. During dinner time, we leave the TV off and talk. I know that it won’t always be this easy, but if I start the tradition now, then hopefully, we will still be able to eat dinner together most of the week as the kids get older.

In honor of Family Day, I think I will make a special meal for the family. I’m not sure what yet, but perhaps one of the kids’ favorite meals. I will print out the placemats from the Family Dinner Kit and the kids can color their placemats while I make dinner. I might even try to print out some of the conversation starters to add a new twist to the conversation.

What will you do to recognize Family Day?

Post your plans to celebrate Family Day on your site with a link back here. Then, come back here and leave a link below.

Or, if you don't have a blog, leave your plans in the comments.