The Family Dinner Project: Food, Fun & Conversation about things that matter
Our guest on the podcast today, co-founded The Family Dinner Project - a non-profit based out of Boston, MA whose slogan is food, fun and conversations about things that matter. Dr. Anne Fishel is a clinical psychologist and director of the Family & couples therapy at Mass General Hospital. She describes family dinners as “a seatbelt in the potholed road of childhood & adolescence.” She is the co-author of Eat, Laugh Talk: the family dinner playbook and the book Mixing Food, Fun, and Conversation for a Happier Family and Healthier Kids.
There are several research-backed benefits to families having dinner together at the table such as increased vocabulary especially in preschoolers, lower risk of substance abuse & depression and greater resilience just to name a few.
Some of my take-aways from this conversation were:
- Family dinners need not be fancy or grand.
- The "secret sauce" to a successful dinner is the atmosphere we create - through conversation and even games
- There are many ways to engage picky (selective) eaters at the table
- Using technology practically to have conversations with tweens and teens during dinner
- Family dinners could even be breakfasts or late night snacks - its the connection, enjoyment and stability we should be focused on.
The Family Dinner Project - https://thefamilydinnerproject.org/
Eat Laugh Talk - the Family Dinner Playbook -order here - https://www.amazon.com/Eat-Laugh-Talk-Family-Playbook/dp/1641701641/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Anne+Fishel&qid=1629428343&sr=8-1
Home for Dinner - order here - https://www.amazon.com/Home-Dinner-Conversation-Happier-Healthier/dp/0814433707/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=Anne+Fishel&qid=1629428374&sr=8-3
It is the job of parents to decide what, where and when the kids should it; but it is the job of the kids to decide how much and whether to eat - Emily Sader