Thursday, September 15, 2011

Back to School, Back to the Family Table (#B4FD)

September is "Family Dinner" month which is perfect timing in one sense: as kids get back to school, we naturally begin to re-think routines and priorities. Yet, it is terrible timing in another sense: the fall is often crammed with new schedules, new transitions and new commitments. This may be the busiest time of year, and without a clear plan, family dinner may be the first thing to go or the last thing you want to add to a crammed schedule. Nonetheless, when the crazy-iness dies down, family dinner can be there to provide structure and sanity, and to give you and your kids a good foundation all year.

Remember, family dinner is not bad-tasting medicine. It can combine family connectedness, laughter, and even healthy, delicious food--what's bad about that? Family dinner is also one of the only public health solutions that has ever been shown to have consistent positive effect on multiple health and social issues, such as obesity, underage alcohol and drug abuse, social disconnectedness, low school performance, and unhealthy relationships to food.

That's why Joseph Califano set up Family Day with CASA over ten years ago, and celebrated this year on Monday, September 26, 2011. After a lifetime of studying health problems, including the debilitating affects of drug and alcohol abuse, he wanted to trumpet family dinner as a positive step that every family could take. In 2011, my colleagues and I are spreading the word and connecting with families in a new way: Blog For Family Dinner, a month-long promotion from September 26 to October 24, 2011. We know that drug abuse prevention is not the only "good thing" that comes from family dinner. There are a whole host of "here and now" reasons as well as other long-term benefits to family meals and family connectedness.

I hope you will join us in the Family Dinner movement by supporting and following the B4FD project. Talk about family dinner with your friends and colleagues, talk about what it means to you, how you make it work, what challenges you face, and offer support and lend advice to one another. Sharing ideas and excitement can help you make the commitment to family dinner.

Read more about the importance of fitting family dinner into the back-to-school routine in this profile:

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? by Kim Seidel, Fall 2011


  1. This is a fabulous idea! Dinner is such a big priority in our house and its the one meal that doesn't feel rushed... most days, anyways. :)

  2. My daughTer's only a year and a half, but i committed to family dinner from before she took solids! I'm sure it will get harder as she gets older and starts to have school, sports, and so on!
    Thanks for this project!

  3. My kids must have taken family dinner seriously - now that they don't live at home, they send me picture messages of what they are making for dinner! Still sharing even from separate dwellings. I admit, even my husband and I make a real effort to have dinner together - even with a complex schedule for each of us in a day. So it helps with adult families too...

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