.

Please ponder one more resolution for the New Year!

There are numerous benefits for children who regularly participate in family dinners. Better grades and being less likely to engage in risky behaviors are just two of the often sited benefits.

As members of New Canaan’s Health and Humans Services Committee meet to discuss and plan the year ahead there was agreement in the need to foster and expand the concept of the family dinner, as a community. This is a simple step that we’d like to see happen more frequently for the good of the family, the kids and the community. 

Three years ago the Commission started a program to promote the benefits of family dinners. Last year, with the YMCA as host  over 140 people came together for a communal family dinner event. Several of the local churches have also been promoting family dinners.  

Research is plentiful in describing the numerous benefits for children who regularly participate in family dinners. Better grades and being less likely to engage in risky behaviors are just two of the often sited benefits. But in today’s hectic, plugged in world it is not easy to disengage and turn attention to the all important dinner table.  Sometimes the composition of the family dinner needs to be relaxed. We build families and together we can work to support families.  

Our familiy dinners can include a best buddy, a neighbor, a co-worker, or someone who you know would enjoy just being included. Let family members decide on guests. Keep it simple and casual, try to plan at least two dates a week (more always encouraged). Going out for a family focused dinner can also be a special event. Set rules: silence media and phones, and let everyone at the table enjoy good conversation, and a healthy loving nutritious time together. Family dinner, a resolution we can enjoy together.   

Mercedes Papaharis

Family Nurse Practitioner, Commissioner Town of New Canaan Health and Human Services Commission

Please join Gates Restaurant, the Outback Teen Center and the YMCA of New Canaan for family dinner on:

Gates: Feb 12,19,26

Outback Teen Center: March 14

YMCA: March 22

For further information on the benefits of family dinners or how to enhance your dinners, visit casafamilyday.org or Parentfurther.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Tony Phillips, LCSW February 19, 2013 at 09:52 PM
Dinner plans anyone on a rainy Tuesday night? Take advantage of Gates $5 kids meals tonight, and celebrate the Family Dinner!
Glen K Dunbar February 19, 2013 at 09:54 PM
I would go BUT, it is raining (as us usual) Plus, I do not like crowds. So, I will pass and go elsewhere or stay home and blog and complain.

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