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Family Life Lessons: 5 National Awareness Causes to Observe


National awareness days, weeks and months are opportunities to teach our children valuable life lessons. Families can promote cancer awareness in honor of a lost loved one during World Cancer Day. Schools can champion Internet and mobile device safety on Safer Internet Day. During National Childhood Obesity month, parents can dedicate those four weeks to a family fitness and nutrition renovation. Observe the following five “times of year” that recognize a special cause, informing your family about health, safety, community, and wellbeing.

World Cancer Day

Every family has been affected by cancer, whether a close friend celebrates their survival each year or a family member lost their battle. World Cancer Day raises awareness for the disease that kills 7.6 million people a year. More than 12.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year, and 30 to 40 percent of cancers can be treated with early diagnosis. Focus on praising the positive effects of a healthy lifestyle, such as fitness, nutrition and sun protection, that can prevent future risks of cancer. Visit the Do Something page on the World Cancer Day site to learn how your family can promote the day by participating in a local event.

(February 4)


Safer Internet Day

The partnership of National PTA and LifeLock empowers young people to be “good digital citizens” while using the Internet and technology. Safer Internet Day promotes Internet safety and smart decisions among adolescents while engaging in the digital world. National PTA and LifeLock have made it a top priority to be advocates for families, communities, students, and educators and spread knowledge of online risks while fostering Internet and mobile device safety. To get involved, SaferInternetDay.us recommends spreading an epidemic of digital kindness by sharing one good thing that makes the Internet great and safe.

(February 11)


National Child Abuse Awareness Month

Your family can support the prevention of child abuse and participate in child maltreatment awareness activities. Advocating the physical and emotional wellbeing of children will help create a safe and healthy community. In 2012, 686,000 children were victims of child maltreatment (including physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, and neglect). A national estimate of 1,640 children died from abuse and neglect, according to the Department of Health & Human Services. Every child deserves to feel safe and nurtured in a loving home. The Child Welfare Information Gateway offers a resource guide for action, parenting tip sheets and ways to get involved to help strengthen your community.



National Childhood Obesity Month

National Childhood Obesity Month addresses the serious mental and physical health risks of living with poor eating habits and having a sedentary lifestyle. Within the past 30 years, obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A child living with obesity is more likely to be at risk for cardiovascular disease, prediabetes and low self-esteem. Dedicate these four weeks as an opportunity to make over or celebrate the fitness and nutrition in your household. Sign the family up for a local 5K, or host a pretend cooking show with the kids and cook up a healthy meal.



Anti-Bullying Week

“Stand up! (to bullying)” during this year’s bullying awareness week and help combat the devastating effects of bullying. Especially with the rise of cyberbulling, drawing attention to the harmful implications of bullying can help give a voice to young people who suffer in silence. A published news analysis by JAMA Pediatrics states that compared to traditional bullying, “cyberbullying is more strongly related to suicidal thoughts in children and adolescents,” according to Medical News Today. Twenty percent of adolescents seriously consider suicide in the U.S., and between 5 and 9 percent of children actually make the attempt. Start a “Stand up! (to bullying)” campaign by partnering with your children’s school and teaching students about the graveness of the problem.

(November 16 – 22)


For a complete list of national awareness days, weeks and months, visit national-awareness-days.com.