Hectic work schedule? Busy with after-school activities? Do outside influences interfere with your family’s dinnertime? Mark Monday, September 22, on your calendar and get ready to celebrate Family Day. For the past twelve years the fourth Monday of September has been noted as Family Day, a national effort to promote family dinners as an effective way to reduce youth substance abuse and other risky behaviors. Research by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University consistently finds that the more often children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use illegal drugs.
It sounds like a simple task to gather the family together for supper around the table and catch up on the day’s activities. Although our nest has been empty for a few years, I still remember the crazy schedules when three kids were heading three different directions. Still, the importance of these 20-30 minutes of each day cannot be overlooked. Get out the calendar and protect the days that eating supper together as a family will work.
Plan a meal that is simple and nutritious so the focus can be on family communication. Adding a salad to a crock pot meal or preparing a quick stir fry served with brown rice is an easy way to feed a hungry family without slaving in the kitchen. Involve family members in choosing the foods that are served; this helps ensure they will be eager eaters at mealtime.
A final reminder with Family Day is to ask family members to turn off technology. This helps to maintain an uninterrupted dinner and focus on what is important; each other! Let me know how Family Day, (September 22nd) goes at your house.
Donna Krug is the family and consumer science agent with K-State Research and Extension. You may reach her at: (620)793-1910 or firstname.lastname@example.org