September 24th is Family Day, a day to celebrate the simple, everyday things parents do to connect with their kids. Founded in 2001 by Center on Addiction, Family Day works with organizations across the country to educate parents about how everyday activities create strong, healthy relationships that can prevent future substance use.
Like other forms of parental involvement, frequent family meals are associated with positive behavioral outcomes for both children and teens. Numerous studies, including this one by the Department of Healthcare Organization & Policy, shows that kids who eat dinner with their parents are less likely to use substances, and partake in harmful behavior.
Family dinners can also offer a space for you to connect with you child. During dinnertime, encourage your child to share their day with you; use positive language to help you maintain and strengthen your bond with you child, and be sure to listen to what your child has to day. Other tips include:
- Ask specific questions.
- Employ an open door policy: Encourage your children to come to you when they are facing a problem.
- Inspire confidence: Remind your children of their best qualities.
- Share your experiences.
- Ask your children for their opinion and listen to what they have to say.
- Say “I love you”.
For more information about family day, and tips on how to make family dinners fun, visit https://www.casafamilyday.org/.