South Florida Family Day,

a day to eat dinner with your children, is a national movement to encourage families to enjoy meals together at least 4-5 times per week because the conversations fostered at the dinner table help our kids make healthier and better choices about alcohol and other drug use.



Many people relate families eating together to their own childhood memories and even to those families we watched on television who did just that. They sat around the dinner table and enjoyed each other’s company, got caught up with the day’s happenings and ate good food. For too many people today, this is a mere memory.

As a society, we have moved away from down time and moved into warp speeding everything we do. There’s too much to do and we have to keep up the pace so we can accomplish all of these things we need to do.

Moving steadily into South Florida over the past 5 years is Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your ChildrenTM , a national health promotion initiative ( It is a simple movement with a profound probability for wonderful long-term consequences. Simply stated with the backing of over a decade of research, eating dinner together as a family at least 4-5 times per week, is one of the most proven ways to protect our children from alcohol and other drug use and to keep them healthy. The 2011 research actually states that kids who eat dinner with their parents regularly (about 5 times per week) make better choices about whether or not to use alcohol or other drugs.

Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your ChildrenTM is a national movement launched by CASA housed at Columbia University in New York since 2001 that reminds parents that frequent family Dinners Make A Difference! While there are no silver bullets – substance abuse can strike any family regardless of ethnicity, affluence, age or gender – the parental engagement fostered at the dinner table can be a simple, effective tool to help parents prevent substance abuse in kids.

Raising healthy and drug-free children is challenging and can certainly be overwhelming at times, but it is not impossible. In fact, more kids DO NOT use drugs than those who do. It’s just that the ones who are engaged in these unhealthy lifestyle behaviors get more attention, and make more “noise.” Teaching our kids how to stay strong, be resilient and avoid alcohol and other drugs for as long as possible begins at home. And, the dinner table is a great place to have these conversations.

Tips for raising children and teens that make healthy decisions and stay away from alcohol or other drugs:

  • Start conversations with them early in their lives so that it is natural and each of you stays in tune with the other.  A strong bond between parent and child pays off in the long run.
  • Listen to and observe your kids.  Hold regular family time discussions.
  • Help your kids learn self control.
  • Be involved in your child's life.
  • Kids need clear limits.  Talk about family rules.  Be consistent in following through with your discipline. 
  • Be aware of major transitions in your child's life, such as beginning school or changing schools.

The dinner table is the perfect place for these!


Tips for Parents Created by Teens

  1. Listen to our stories, try to understand, stay calm and please don't jump to conclusions.
  2. Spend more time with us, like cooking or family dinners, and when a rule or something changes with one of us, let's all get together to talk about it.
  3. Know us as individuals and make sure the consequences you set match our maturity and levels of responsibility.
  4. Make an effort to get to know my friends. It's important to me that you care.

Preparing Meals Together or Enjoying Family Mealtimes = Healthy Families that are in tune with each other and Children and Teens that Make Healthy and Drug-Free Choices.