The saying goes, “Families that play together, stay together.” When a child is injured or sick, we say, “My child’s hurting, so I’m hurting.”
Parents know that quality family time helps to build strong relationships among the members of the family. Every year, National Family Day is celebrated on September 26 to celebrate investment in spending time together as a family. When most people think of family, they think of the people who are tied to them by marriage or blood, but the definition of family has evolved over time. These days, anyone who shows deep altruistic love and support for another, may be considered a member of the family. On this day, we’re encouraged to spend time with those we consider to be family by cooking or sharing a meal together, playing a game together, or just taking a moment to connect with one another. The advance of technology allows instant connection through mobile devices with texting and video calls, not to mention social media. So we all like to think we’re tuned in to what’s going on in the lives of our family members all the time. But even with that kind of technology, there’s still a barrier of distance. You can get much more from communication with a loved one, beyond sight and sound, when you’re literally sharing the same space.
Here at the Ronald McDonald House, we know that in-person connection is especially important when a child is sick or injured and is getting medical attention. Research shows having family there when a child is dealing with a health concern can help the patient – and the patient’s medical staff – during a great time of need.* Our family is our support network, and in usual circumstances, simply gathering with family members for quality family time can help lead to positive and healthy choices. Sharing time, whether through meals or activities, has been shown to lower the risk of unresolved family conflict. The benefits of gathering regularly with family can really become evident when a family is suddenly thrown into the midst of a young member’s health crisis. When a child is admitted into a hospital, the bonding that’s developed during past family activities becomes even more important.
So we encourage you to spend some time together with your family members today. Build those relationships within your family. The stronger those relationships, the better the support when it’s really needed.