On the fourth Tuesday in September, National Family Day encourages everyone to gather around the table and enjoy a meal together.
The old saying goes, “Families who eat together, stay together,” but did you know they may also be reducing the risk of addiction? According to the National Center on Addiction, families who eat three or more meals a week together reduce a teen’s risk of using tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.
That’s a fantastic outcome on its own. Family bonding is just a bonus. However, there are more benefits. For example, families who eat together also learn healthy eating habits, eat smaller portions, and are less likely to stress about food.
And back to the bonding – when parents engage with their children over a meal, their relationships are better. They learn responsibility while helping to prepare the meal and cleaning up. Children feel like they are a part of a unit, a team. They connect with the people who mean the most to them and who know them the best. Parents become and remain the people they turn to when the significant problems crop up.
Look forward to conversations about grades, dating, borrowing the car, and moving away. Don’t forget the debates about politics. Our children won’t always agree with us – and that’s ok. Why? Because we raise them to be independent thinkers and to express themselves effectively. These conversations start at a dinner table. They shouldn’t begin when our children’s world turns upside down.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalFamilyDay
Have a meal with your family. It doesn’t have to be fancy. But it does have to include food and your family. Gather everyone and set the table. Talk to each other. Find out about everyone’s day. Then, commit to having another meal together before the week is out. Take a family photo and share it using #NationalFamilyDay.
NATIONAL FAMILY DAY HISTORY
The National Center on Addiction declared National Family Day in 2001 as a way to combat substance abuse among teens. Their research showed that teens who ate meals with their families were less likely to fall into substance abuse. They also tend to do better in school and eat healthier.