FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Time can be in short supply during the holiday season, and the Fort Rucker Directorate of Family, and Morale, Welfare and Recreation seeks to help single parents make the most of it during Single Parent Family Game Night Sept. 15.

The free event, which takes place from 5-7 p.m. at the Fort Rucker Post Exchange food court, is open to single parents -- who are military or Department of Defense civilians -- and their children.

"The new parent support program, in partnership with Adam Shaw, food court manager with Army and Air Force Exchange Service, (plan to) provide parents with a fun night out with their children, with no cost to them," Pam Williams, Fort Rucker Army Community Service director, said. "AAFES will supply sub sandwiches and drinks and the venue for this event. All who pre-register will receive a voucher for a free movie at the post theater at a later date."

Registration is open to the first 20 families, and parents are encouraged to sign up early to secure their spot and their free board game to take home after the event. Deadline to register is Sept. 9, Williams said.

"Each registered child will be able to pick out a game to take home with them," Williams said. "Family advocacy program will set up the event, decorate the setting and supply the games. Parents will be able to play the available games with their children in a stress-free environment. Food and drink will be available to the families participating. Bring your family to enjoy some quality family time!"

According to Williams, the event is a perfect opportunity to spend quality time with their families and strengthen familial bonds.

"It enhances the parent-child attachment, provides a positive role model, and also fosters skills development and information-sharing opportunities that enhance the parent's ability to interact more effectively with their children, and to create and maintain a safe home environment in which self-esteem and learning are encouraged," she said.

Aside from attending single parent family events on post, Williams said single parents can take other small steps to make the most of their time with family.

She offered the following tips.

1. Set priorities -- dedicate your time and energy to those areas that are most important.

2. Set a good example -- be the kind of person you want your child to be -- they learn by watching you!

3. Help your child build positive self-esteem -- show your child affection every day and love without conditions. Praise and encourage your child's efforts.

4. Be honest with your child, but don't involve them in unnecessary adult matters.

5. Be involved in your child's education -- attend open houses (if possible), meet your child's teachers and assist with homework.

6. Set aside time to spend with your child every day -- dedicate at least a few minutes every day to give them your complete attention and really listen carefully to them. Don't rush or interrupt.

7. Plan outings and activities to do together -- they don't have to cost money. Go for a walk, visit a park or play a game.

8. Encourage personal responsibility in your child -- make a list of chores for your child that is appropriate for their age.

9. Discipline with love -- set firm, fair rules and be consistent. Discuss the consequences for breaking the rules and make sure they understand what is expected.

For more information on the family advocacy program, call 255-3898. For more event information, call 255-3817 or 255-3815.