FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Time can be in short supply for busy military families, 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. 21.

The free event, which takes place from 5-7 p.m. at the post exchange food court, is open to single parents -- military or Department of Defense civilians -- and their children, according to Joy McCormick, Fort Rucker New Parent Support Program social worker.

"This is an initiative of Fort Rucker Community Health Promotions Council Community Resiliency Work Group," McCormick said. "They are promoting programs that build or enhance single parent families and enhance the parent's ability to interact more effectively with their children. This will create and maintain a safe home environment where self-esteem and learning are encouraged."

Registration is open to the first 20 families and parents are encouraged to sign up early to secure their spot. Deadline to register is Sept. 18.

"The family advocacy program, in partnership with Army and Air Force Exchange Service, will conduct the family game night for single parents," McCormick said. "This is to provide parents with a fun night out with their children, with no cost to them. AAFES will supply sub sandwiches, 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.

"Each registered child will be able to pick out a game to take home with them," she added.

According to McCormick, 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 foster 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, McCormick said single parents can take other small steps to make the most of their time with family.

She offered the following tips.

Set Priorities -- Dedicate your time and energy to those areas that are most important.

Set a Good Example -- Be the kind of person you want your child to be -- they learn by watching you.

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

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

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

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.

Plan outings and activities to do together -- They don't have to cost money-go for a walk, visit a park, play a game.

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

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.

If parents miss the opportunity to attend this family game night, McCormick said there will be more opportunities in the future.

"We are trying to offer a single parent family event each quarter," she said. "The [FAP NPSP] offers services to our single parents that can benefit from extra support and educational services. Please contact them for more information."

For more information or to register, call 255-9647.