The Town of New Canaan’s Youth and Family Services has teamed up with other Asset Building Organizations to announce the fifth consecutive April is 30 Days of Family Month in New Canaan
This April we have joined forces with the Chamber of Commerce, Silver Hill Hospital, The Ram Council, The New Canaan YMCA, New Canaan Cares, The New Canaan Library, The New Canaan Nature Center, Grace Community Church, Grace Farms Foundation, New Canaan Mounted Troop, St Marks, St Aloysius, New Canaan Community Foundation, The Congregational Church and Kids in Crisis to Celebrate Tech Free Family Time.
We are happy to have added the New Canaan Community Foundation, who is proud to support New Canaan’s 30 Days of Family effort. The Foundation works to support a bigger vision – a New Canaan that comes together to address both individual and local challenges, enriching the lives of all community members. We’ve heard repeatedly the need to focus on mental health, wellness, and prevention and April’s 30 Days of Family is a great collaboration encouraging positive and healthy habits in our community.”
And the second community partner joining forces this spring, has been promoting this effort already in their own way since the Fall of 2018, The Congregational Church of New Canaan has modeled a Sabbath Dinner and encouraged the congregation to schedule time on Sunday nights for a family dinner. “We wanted to help cultivate faith throughout our lives and deepen the connections within our families and our community. Many in our congregation have adopted this tradition and it has been life-giving for them and their families. It has created a time when we say that the business and busyness of life is not going to crowd out this faith time, this family time.” The Rev. Dr. Stephen Chapin Garner, Senior Minister, The Congregational Church of New Canaan.
We know Family Dinner Makes a Difference! Being Tech Free makes a bigger difference-Making dinner and family time in general a tech-free zone will open things up for conversations and promotes eye contact not icontact.
• Family dinner is an institution. Families that eat dinner together five or more times a week have children 33% less likely to use alcohol or drugs.
• Dinner is a time for sharing. Almost all (93 percent of) parents think conversations at family dinners are important for talking about things happening in their children’s lives.
• Devices aren’t welcome but often have a seat at the table anyway. Even though previous research has found that 88 percent of adults don’t think it’s OK to use a phone at a family dinner, 47 percent of parents said they or a family member used a mobile device at dinner in the last week. Thirty-four percent said they had the TV on for all or most dinners.
The Initiative, now in its fifth year, is inspired by “Family Day,” a national movement that informs parents that the engagement fostered during frequent family dinners is an effective tool to help keep America’s kids substance free and healthy.
Encouraging families to eat together and spend more time with each other is in line with the 40 Developmental Assets presented by the Search Institute. Additionally, according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), compared to teens who have frequent family dinners (five to seven per week), those who have infrequent family dinners (fewer than three per week) are:
•Almost four times likelier to use tobacco;
•More than twice as likely to use alcohol;
•Two-and-a-half times likelier to use marijuana; and
•Almost four times likelier to say they expect to try drugs in the future.
The last three years we have added a tech free family time basket that will be given out at select community events and hopefully utilized by teens and their parents.
We will kick off our 30 Days of Family Initiative on April 1, 2019 at New Canaan High School lunch block to talk with teens about how they could spend tech free family time in their household.
Tech free family time baskets will be available for community families to pick up and utilize at home for dinner or game/movie night or any family time being spent:
New Canaan Cares Office
The NC YMCA Front Desk
Jacqueline D’Louhy, LCSW and Coordinator of Youth and Family Services for the town of New Canaan added, “Unplugging gets families to actually talk to each other—With their voices and spend quality time making eye contact and practicing listening skills! Think about how much teens “talk” to each other electronically. Sometimes they’ll be sitting in the same room but never utter a word to one another. This is hurting social skills and communication, which are essential building blocks for long-term success. We need adults to help our youth model this behavior because we are not the best at unplugging ourselves”.
Please visit https://ncchamber.wpengine.com/30-days-of-family/ to know more about all of the fun, family activities to take part in this April.