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Network Health Blog

Bringing Families Back Together

group of people standing together on YMCA basketball court

How to Encourage More Family Bonding Time

A 2018 study shows that American families with school-aged children typically spend less than 45 minutes together each weekday. The top reasons include long hours at work, school schedules and weekends spent catching up on daily tasks. One in four parents says the lack of family quality time away from chores, work, school or TV is a real problem.

One effort to bring awareness to the importance of quality family time is Family Dinner Night. This Appleton Area School District (AASD) program brings families together to prepare, cook and eat a meal together.

This program teaches families to shop for healthy, affordable meals, cook those meals together and build relationships through mealtime conversation.

Recently, Network Health sponsored Family Dinner Night at Edison Elementary School in Appleton and saw firsthand the impact it had on community families. Our volunteers helped with set up, assisted families during the event and cleaned up after the event was over.

Carlene Jahnke, Administrative Assistant at Network Health, was part of the volunteer team. She thought the event served a much-needed purpose.

“It was a great event that got kids involved with cooking and provided quality time for parents to spend with their kids without the use of electronics,” Carlene said.

Penny Koehler, Manager of Marketing Operations at Network Health, was also part of the volunteer team. She was impressed that the families were so grateful for the healthy recipes they learned to make.

“One of the families was even going to use the recipe when their family came from out of state over the holidays,” Penny said.

AASD believes the benefits of eating dinner with family are monumental for students. Research shows children who eat meals with their families are less likely to smoke, do drugs and drink alcohol, have healthier weights and eating habits, do better in school and have better communication skills.

If you have students in the AASD and are interested in attending Family Dinner Night or if you are interested in volunteering for the program, please email [email protected]. Events are held throughout the school year.


family bonding activity 1
more family bonding time at ymca

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