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7 Tips And Ideas For Family Day

Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children™ is a national movement launched by CASA Columbia in 2001 to remind parents that frequent family Dinners Make A Difference! While there are no silver bullets – substance abuse can strike any family regardless of ethnicity, affluence, age or gender – the parental engagement fostered at the dinner table can be a simple, effective tool to help prevent substance abuse in kids.

Family Day began as a grassroots initiative and has grown to become a nationwide celebration. In fact, in 2010 President Obama, all the Governors and more than 1,000 Mayors and County Executives proclaimed and supported Family Day!*

Even if you only have little ones at the moment, introducing them to a daily (or as many days of the week as possible) regimen of mealtime as a family will lay the foundation for the facilitation of easier communication between you and your children as they age, it will be the source of many fond and lifelong memories and they are very likely to continue the tradition into adulthood and pass it on to the families they build, and so on and so on.

As a Family Day - A Day To Eat Dinner With Your Children™ Ambassador I'd like to provide you with some tips and ideas on how have an effective Family Day™ Dinner at your home.

  1. Plan, Plan, PLAN AHEAD! This year, Family Day is Monday, September 26. Don't race around doing last minute preparations for the day. Do your shopping during this coming weekend.
  2. At a loss for something interesting and unique to make? Check out these free downloadable recipes.
  3. Line up your conversation starters: Don't jump right in preaching morals and ethics. Consider talking about upcoming movies or revisit past ones seen by you and your kids. Use these as vehicles to discuss your subjects of interest: drug use, bullying, friendships, responsibility, education, etc. Music is a great subject. Listen to what your kids are listening to and bring it up at the table to get their perspective. Let them talk first. And do your best to resist the urge to pass judgment or reminisce about the old days that were so much better than now. No one wants to hear that. Did you when you were a kid?
  4. Other subjects are sports, the new fall television lineup and the latest in kids fiction. Talking to your kids about their friends might also be a good place to start.
  5. Mom and Dad take turns: There's no denying that kids respond differently to each from one hour to the next. Monday might not be your day, Dad. If this is the case don't force it or take it personally. Just pass the baton to Mom. Mom, don't react to Dad if he is initially frustrated, call him away from the table briefly assure him that things are okay and proceed with dinner. And vice versa.
  6. If this is your first time (in a long time) sitting down as a family during the week or at home, make the Family Day Pledge and please make it a priority to do it again soon and regularly.
  7. If none of the above points apply to you or if all of them do, make especially sure to have fun at dinner!

Do you have any ideas, tips and suggestions for Family Day? Please share with us here in the comments section of this post.

*© The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University

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