for families on the fly
You're rushing from work to soccer practice. You've got a car load of hungry kids demanding food when you see the Golden Arches. Relief is in sight. You sit down with your trays of food, but something looks different. Instead of drawings of Ronald McDonald or dancing french fries, your tray liner has information about strengthening families: hints on starting a conversation with your monosyllabic adolescents and tips on fun things to do together. Now this is information you can use.
The "Take A Break With Your Kids" program adopts an untraditional approach to distributing parenting information. But it is practical.These days, extension's human development specialists are challenged to distribute information about effective parenting to families on the fly. So they came up with a creative solution: Catch them on the fly.
"It's a unique way to get information to adults. We're reaching a lot of people, parents and grandparents," said Jane Hunter, a human development specialist in Macon. Hunter organized Missouri's first "Take A Break" program in Kirksville, Milan and Macon. The project, which was modeled after a successful Ohio program, will also be piloted in St. Charles, Cape Girardeau and Springfield.
In spearheading the effort, Hunter contacted a family in her area that owns three McDonald's restaurants, Holly and Randy Lynch of Kirksville. They liked the idea of spreading family-friendly messages. And since state health regulations require the restaurant to use tray liners, they are already included in the store's budget.
One of the liners discusses the importance of families spending time on joint projects. It explains that research shows spending time outdoors is a favorite activity for many strong families. Another liner lists conversation starters, such as "If I were the parent in this family....." Or, "One thing I like about each person in my family is ......"
Next Hunter plans to make the liners look a little splashier. While the message is important, she is competing with dancing french fries. "We definitely need more graphics and color next time around," she said.