Since Sept. 24 is National Family Day – one day to eat dinner with your children – it got us thinking about of the definition of family.

How do we define family?

Some people say a mother, father and siblings make up a family. Others may include aunts, uncles and grandparents. Yet others may include roommates or close friends. Webster’s Dictionary defines it as a group of relatives or a group of people who are closely related by birth, marriage, or adoption, or a group of people living together and functioning as a single household.

No matter how you define family, the more involved parents are with their children, the better decisions teens and children will make.

When teens have less than three family dinners a week, they are twice as likely to use tobacco, 1 1/2 times likelier to use alcohol and twice as likely to try other drugs. The more we interact with our children and teens and engage in family activities, the better chance our children have for success.

The website, provides information on the nine facets of parental engagement. Those nine facets are:

• Be there: Get involved in your children’s lives and activities;

• Open the lines of communication and keep them open;

• Set a good example: Actions are more persuasive than words;

• Set rules and expect your child to follow them.

• Monitor your children’s whereabouts;

• Maintain family rituals such as eating dinner together;

• Incorporate religious and spiritual practices into family life;

• Get both parents involved and keep both engaged.

• Engage the larger family of your children’s friends, teachers, classmates, neighbors and communities.

There are lots of things you can do with your children right here in our community. Try these:

• Go bowling and take along some of your children’s friends;

• Go to a movie as a family;

• Create a family date night and let a different member of the family choose the restaurant each week or month;

• Create a family movie night at home with popcorn and snacks;

• Create a family game night and play some of your favorite board games, card games, or Wii games;

• Visit the local library. They often have events and activities for families and children that are free, such as “Story Time”. Visit (Breckenridge Library) and (Wahpeton Library) for more information on upcoming events and activities;

• Do your children enjoy sports? If they don’t already play in school sports, take them to local high school or college ballgames. This may also encourage your children to partake in school sports or other extracurricular activities. Youth who are involved in sports or other school activities are less likely to use drugs or alcohol. Activity schedules can be found on most school websites;

• Keep an eye on community calendars for fun community events like parades, movies in the park, community plays, concerts, or other festivals.

For events going on in the Breckenridge/Wahpeton area visit For events happening in the Rothsay, Minn., area visit

Whether your family is traditional or non-traditional it’s always important to spend time together. For more information on National Family Day visit

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