PURPOSE: United Nations designated the year 2014 as the “International Year of the Family”. Spending time with your family is so important that I wanted to provide an O4U (Opportunity for You) to prove that regular Quality Family Time has many positive results. Quality time with your family should, ideally, start when your kids are young. Spending time with your family (parents and kids) builds open lines of communication and encourages bonding. As your kids get older, that bonding and open communication will become even more important. Structure and active interaction helps your kids build confidence in themselves. They need to know that they can talk with you about anything. You can never turn back the hands of the clock; your kids are going to grow up whether or not you are involved. The difference is, if you are involved, they will be less apt to create their own solutions to trials and tribulations they face. Recent studies show that bullying in school is the 3rd leading cause of deaths in kids. Another excellent resource regarding what research has shown about bullying in schools is from the CDC. Another area of concern is that peer pressure can convince kids to do things that, even though they know are wrong, they will do them anyway – – – unless they have a strong support system at their home. And, peer pressure does not just affect teenagers. It also affects the young children.
It is equally as important that you get to know your kids’ friends! If your kids’ friends are at your home with them, you know they are safe and out of trouble. You also need to know the kinds of friends your kids are choosing. If you set the stage right, your kids’ friends will want to spend time at your home. My son’s friends actually started calling me “Mom”. They knew they were always welcome in my home. They never knew what to expect when they came to my home because we did so many whacky things.
HISTORY: Families have been sharing meals together for eons and have always been the foundation of communities and society. After a hard day at work, families came together at dinner time to share their trials and tribulations, to laugh together, and to enjoy the company of each other. When people became more mobile due to vehicles that permitted them to go faster and farther, family members began spreading out as they searched for work. Additionally, the expectation of advancing technology was that everyone would have more available time. However, rather than using the time that technology freed up for relaxation and fun, people filled their newfound free time with more work. The reduction of quality family time directly correlates to the world becoming more dangerous with each generation.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU? A more cohesive family with less tension. Building more self-confidence gives them more courage to stand up to peer pressure and avoid some risky behaviors. Additionally, as people live longer, the family many times includes 2, 3, and 4 generations living at home. I did a lot of research about what makes each generation tick, what drives them, and why each generation acts and thinks the way they do. Consider reading my articles about each generation. I researched major influencer, motivators, values, financial views, communication, learning styles, and types of entertainment each generation enjoyed: Traditionalists (my Mother’s generation), Baby Boomers (my generation), Generation X (my son’s generation), Millennials (my granddaughter’s generation).
Kids tend to shy away from risky behaviors when they regularly participate with their families. It does not matter what reason they tell their friends and unscrupulous people who are encouraging them to join gangs, take drugs, etc. What does matter is that they do not get involved because they know they must be present at family dinners with all of their family members. What matters more is that they avoid unsafe behavior.
I broke the different tasks into phases that will be posted every Thursday, starting the last Thursday of July and ending with the last Thursday in August. This is to give you enough time to complete your planning and organizing so you can kick this off smoothly. Just because I publish the Phases on Thursdays does not mean that you have to complete the previous Phase by the date the next Phase is published. It is more important that you spend time to get things set up so the process will be totally successful.
- Phase 1 – Why are Family Meal Times Important?: July 27
- Phase 2 – Quality Family Meal Time: July 27
- Phase 3 – Conversation Starters – Make it Fun!: August 3
- Phase 4 – Quick and Easy Meal Suggestions for Family Meals: August 10
- Phase 5 – Taste Testing Activities, Phase 5: August 17
- Phase 6 – Planning Meetings with Kids for Friends and Family Events: August 24
- Finale – Family Meals – Let the Games Begin – CELEBRATE!: August 31