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Turning the table on advice programs for parents: Using placemats to enhance family interaction at restaurants

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Publication Date
Source
PMC
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Design
  • Education
  • Psychology
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Unknown

Abstract

There are many opportunities in a family's daily routine to enrich the interactions among its members. One such opportunity arises at family restaurants. Surveys of restaurant personnel and customers suggested the possibility of enriching family interactions by redesigning indigenous materials such as table placemats. Accordingly, we developed Table-Talk placemats that provided conversational topics and illustrated games in which the entire family could participate. After some testing of these placemats in a preschool, a field experiment was conducted with families dining in restaurants. Table-Talk placements occasioned more social and educational dialogue among family members than either traditional-placemat or no-material conditions. Social validation ratings provided by mental health counselors and the parents suggested that Table-Talk placemats occasioned healthy and enjoyable interactions among family members.

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