30 Days of Family: April 2020

Dinner Makes a Difference!

When children have dinner with their families five to seven times a week, they are 33% less likely to use alcohol or drugs. Families that eat together have…

  • More nutritious diets
  • Teens who are less likely to be involved in risky behavior
  • Children with better language skills and academic scores
  • A lower obesity rate
  • Children who enjoy a variety of foods
  • Better relationships with each other and their community

Ideas from LiveGirl

You are invited to join a LiveGirl community event:
One Book | One Town with Marie Benedict

Did you know? Only 3% of US history textbooks relate to women. Reading Marie Benedict’s novels are a great way to bond while learning HERstory with your daughter! Join us for this inspiring, collaborative book discussion as we explore The Only Woman in the Room by best-selling author, Marie Benedict – who will be joining the conversation!

Girls and women of all ages welcome, reading the book before hand is recommended but not required.

LIVE GIRL: Building Confident Leaders

April is 30 Days of Family in New Canaan. What? You ask. With extended school closures through at least April 20, many families are probably thinking that they are spending too much time together. I know a lot of you are feeling scared, anxious and confused right now. I know because that’s what I’m feeling too. But I also know that now more than ever, quality family time is essential.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to homeschool your child. It doesn’t matter if you allow more screen time than usual. What matters now is what your kids remember about how their family home felt during the coronavirus panic. Our kids are watching us and learning about how to respond to stress and uncertainty. Now is the time to wire our kids with resilience and empathy. Here’s some ideas on how to do that.

Be honest

Acknowledge to your kids that while no one can predict when or how this pandemic will end. Acknowledge the anxiety and stress this causes for everyone. Now is the time to model that no one is perfect. Apologize when necessary. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell. I’m feeling a lot of stress right now.”

Create a ‘new normal’ schedule

With parents working from home and students e-learning, the days will feel different, but most humans benefit from some structure. So, establish a new routine. Set an alarm. (Even if it’s later!) For younger children, don’t feel guilty about adding in more screen time. (Adults, don’t feel guilty about watching more Netflix!)

Do something every day to spark joy

Find reasons to laugh together. This is oh so important. Make a tik tok (dance party!), shoot some baskets, read a Rebel Girls story together. Now is a great time to make a list of some new and fun things you want to do together. (We love virtual museum tours and podcasts.) Have a ‘stupid jokes’ dinner and see who can tell the funniest joke!

Give yourself permission to check out

Now more than ever, it’s an important time to unplug. Parents must model this for children. If you get news alerts on your phone, turn them off when you’re feeling distressed. If your anxiety is rising, step away from social media and your computer screen. Literally. Take a short walk. Stay active. Create a family PE class together. (Saxe MS PE e-learning provides a nice rotation of exercises!)

Have gratitude

Now is a great time to start a new ritual of sharing three gratitudes before bedtime. As difficult and uncertain as your day was, you can certainly find something to be grateful for. When the order is given to ‘shelter in place’, give gratitude that you have shelter. When you hear of a friend contracting the virus, give thanks for your health. When you pick up curbside groceries, give thanks for the frontline workers who made it possible.

So, what’s on the West Family 30 Days of Family schedule? We’re planning to simulate the NCAA Final Four (spoiler: Michigan State wins), a euchre tournament, lots of Catan, hikes at the many Land Trust spaces, and writing letters to friends and grandparents. Join us and spend more quality family time together this April.

Sheri West
New Canaan Resident, Mother of Three, LiveGirl Founder & CEO, New Canaan Public Schools Board of Education Member

Family Friendly Virtual Events

Partners

Town of New Canaan Family Services

New Canaan Cares

Grace Community Church

New Canaan Library

New Canaan YMCA

Kids in Crisis

New Canaan Mounted Troop

New Canaan Nature Center

Grace Farms Foundation

New Canaan Coalition for Youth & Families

Behavioral Health Action Organization The Hub

New Canaan Recreation

New Canaan Parent Support Group

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church Youth Community

Mountainside

Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut, Inc.

New Canaan Community Foundation

St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church

The Congregational Church of New Canaan

Ram Council

Silver Hill Hospital

LiveGirl

Young Women’s League of New Canaan

Drug Free New Canaan

Additional Resources