The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) has instituted a national movement called “Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children. Launched as a grassroots effort in 2001, it has now grown to a nationwide initiative that is celebrated on the fourth Monday in September.
Here is some great information from their website:
As children age, it is important to build trust with them and keep the lines of communication open so that if at any point they begin to feel increased pressure to experiment with smoking, drinking and using drugs they can feel comfortable talking to you about it.
Everyday activities like having family dinner together, helping your children with their homework or attending their after school activities have a lasting effect on your kids.
Each of these moments offers an opportunity to connect, share and really listen to what’s on their mind. Research shows that children with hands-on parents are far less likely to smoke, drink or use other drugs. Remember, parental engagement matters!
If you can’t sit down for family dinner today, that’s ok. Take a look at your calendar for the next week and schedule a ‘date’ (or two or three) with your family for good old-fashioned ‘family-face-time’ (FFT). It doesn’t have to be fancy. Keep it simple and as stress free and as much FUN as possible. FUN is when great things happen.
Determine if FFT will take place at home around the table or choose a restaurant where it can be accomplished (no TVs distracting with the game overhead). The goal is for whomever is participating to sit at the table for a meal with no distractions. Yes, mom and dad this will be just as hard for you J – no cell phones and no TV. Think quality FFT. Believe it or not, teenagers really do want uninterrupted quality time with their parents – even if they don’t act like it. By planning ahead and exerting a little bit of effort in small stages, we can start now to prepare for mealtime outings with family, friends, and even colleagues… without cringing at the thought of the idea.
And if you want a fun, creative way to set the stage and ‘invite’ your family to dinner… take the lead from the mom of one of our high school students:
I’d love to hear about your ‘Family-Face-Time’! Click here top over to the Facebook page to share your stories…