Manners Monday: Family Meals are More than Teachable Moments

Family Day_Family Meals... Making the most of dinnerDur­ing my Bring­ing Man­ners Home work­shop, I uti­lize teach­able moments for par­ents to teach their chil­dren man­ners at home.  Dur­ing the mod­ule “Fam­ily Meals: Table Man­ners for Kids, Teens and Adults,” we cover proper uten­sil place­ment, table con­ver­sa­tion, how to prop­erly hold your uten­sils (after all, if  you, the par­ent, hold them like gar­den tools what do you think your chil­dren are going to do? ) and the dif­fer­ence between din­ing out and din­ing at home.  We also cover spend­ing time dis­cussing the events of the day.

Did you know that teens who have fre­quent fam­ily din­ners (five to seven per week) are more likely to report hav­ing excel­lent rela­tion­ships with their par­ents.  Also, teens who have excel­lent rela­tion­ships with their par­ents are less likely to use mar­i­juana, alco­hol or tobacco.

This comes from CASACo­lum­bia and The National Cen­ter on Addic­tion and Sub­stance Abuse at Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity, who in 2001 launched Fam­ily DayA Day to Eat Din­ner with Your Chil­dren.TM  It is cel­e­brated on the 4th Mon­day in Sep­tem­ber — which is today, Sep­tem­ber 24th!  This is a day to remind par­ents that fre­quent fam­ily din­ners make a difference!

Now I under­stand for most fam­i­lies it takes two incomes to sur­vive, or, if you are a sin­gle par­ent, you may not be home in time for din­ner.   That was my strug­gle.  I was a sin­gle mom for 13 years and the hard­est thing after dri­ving home in traf­fic for two hours was leav­ing my road rage and office pol­i­tics at the door and giv­ing my girls 100% of my atten­tion, but I knew what­ever time I had with them had to be qual­ity time.

Make time each week to have din­ner with your fam­ily.  Not only will your kids learn good man­ners and develop social skills that will enhance their self– con­fi­dence, but they will also be less likely to smoke, drink or use drugs.

Go to CASACo­lum­bia and take the pledge to become a STAR fam­ily. S-Spend time with my kids by hav­ing din­ner together. T –Talk to them about their friends, inter­ests and the dan­gers of drugs and alco­hol.  A — Answer their ques­tions and lis­ten to what they say.  R — Rec­og­nize that I have the power to help keep my kids sub­stance free!

Happy Fam­ily Day!!