Family Mealtimes

Why Family Mealtimes Are More Important Than You Realise

Our modern lifestyle makes eating together as a family harder to do.

Many of us now sit eating our meals from tray in front of the television, phones and laptops, while others will grab takeaways and eat in the car!

Shift work and having young children often mean that families will eat at different times to each other, so eating around a table may be easier said than done.

There are so many advantages, however, to eating, without distractions, as a family at the dining table, and Danielle Barrett from 'Around The Table' covers these in this interview.

So listen in to discover why family mealtimes are more important that you may realise.


Meet Danielle

Danielle Barrett is a busy mum of 3, and when her children were young, she felt that the possibility and also the joy of sitting down having a meal together was just not possible.

Danielle Barrett

The guilt she felt around not being able “to-do-it-all” sparked an interest to see how other parents were managing to work all day, drop off and pick up kids, and still put dinner on the table at a reasonable time. Instead of discovering the secret, she discovered she wasn’t alone and that families are increasingly moving away from eating together at the dinner table.

After she discovered that eating together just 3 days a week can make a real difference, she became passionate about helping other families eat together around the table. As well as promoting dining together with her ‘Around The Table’ products, Danielle speaks to parents at local schools and community groups on the benefits of eating together, so that families can understand that investing the time is worthwhile.

How to Contact Danielle


Gillian Duncan 0:00
Hello and welcome to this episode of the Clarity Junction podcast. I am excited to be joined today by Danielle Barrett. Danielle is a mum of three, and after trying to juggle her work-life balance realised that she needed to find a way to spend more valuable time with her family. She soon discovered that she could utilise our family mealtimes better and use them as a way to build stronger relationships with her kids. From there, Danielle created her business called 'Around The Table' to help share her knowledge and to encourage other families to make the most of their meal times together. So keep listening to learn why eating together as a family is so important, why we need to turn that TV off, and discover Danielle's top tips for making mealtimes more fun and engaging. My name is Gillian Duncan Positive Life and Wellbeing Coach, inspiring women to lead the life they want, and I am delighted that you're here with me today.

Hi, Danielle. Welcome to the Clarity Junction podcast.

Danielle Barrett 1:12
Thank you.

Gillian Duncan 1:14
Today you are here to discuss the importance of family mealtimes and why sitting around a table, enjoying food together is beneficial to family life. This is a topic that really interests me as although my family has always made a point of eating together around the table at mealtimes, I realise that modern day family life, being so hectic, that it's not always possible, and it's really easy to get into the habit of not sitting down together, and we either grab food on the go or we start eating it in front of the TV, or even the computer screen. So, I also find that the habit of eating around the table gets harder to do as the kids get older. So, I'm really looking forward to hearing more about your project, 'Around The Table', but before we go into it, I would love you to give our listeners just a little bit of an insight as to who Danielle Barrett is, and what has led you to being so passionate about the importance of family mealtimes.

Danielle Barrett 2:20
Oh, thank you. I am, as you can probably tell by my accent, I'm an Aussie Mum. Mum of three children. In fact, I was an, almost had an instant family. I had three children in 16 months. So I had a single, single child and then I had twins. So I was welcomed to the world of parenting. And so a few years down the track, I decided that I would like to go back and start work and I found myself really struggling with the balance between home life and work life. And that's when I did what I think most mums do, I started Googling for solutions. The good old world of Google to find ways that I could actually find that balance between the two. And that's when, I suppose, through some research, I discovered the importance of eating together with my family for dinner. And as a result, 'Around The Table', many years later. Like most great ideas, I sat on it for a very long time, and many years later, I'm now the proud founder of 'Around The Table', who, we help families come together for dinner.

Gillian Duncan 3:38
That sounds awesome, Danielle, and it's fantastic how you've reached this point in your journey through your own experiences. To having to, you know been faced with balancing that life, work, children factor that most of us mums have to face at some point or another, and then to find something that you feel passionate about. So, tell us more about the benefits of families eating together.

Danielle Barrett 4:05
Yeah, well, I think when I started originally to find solutions, I wasn't really looking for benefits. So it was kind of an interesting journey. What I was looking for is some, you know, easy ways to make life a bit easier during that very busy time. When you get home from work, you're exhausted, you've picked up children from school or daycare or whatever that may be, and you're looking for really easy solutions. During that journey, what I found was how important eating together was. So, it didn't actually solve a lot of my problems, all it did was really highlight that I should be probably putting a little bit more effort into eating together as a family. And the benefits that, that landed in my lap were things like higher self esteem and higher vocabulary levels and high levels of resilience in children from eating together regularly as a family. That then drove me to the next step was, 'Okay, if this is really important, and there's many benefits, and I've just named a few, how do I get to that point where I'm not only getting to the table, but I'm actually enjoying that experience? Because it's obviously very beneficial.' That was kind of the next part of my journey for 'Around The Table'.

Gillian Duncan 5:19
You mentioned about that point of, how do you get there, because for those who, you know, have experienced family life, getting kids around the table is not easy of all the time. And it can be quite a stressful experience. You know, you come home from work or whatever you're up to, and you've just managed to prepare your meal, you're trying to balance that time when the kids are running about, they're tired, they're hungry, you know, there may be misbehaving. You're balancing that, that cooking job and you're trying to keep them out of the kitchen, out of harm's way. You're, you know, absolutely frantic at this point and you're hungry yourself and you're tired, and then trying to get them all to sit around a table, and, you know, behave and eat their food, that's really quite a huge challenge for a lot of families.

Danielle Barrett 6:14
It is and I think it definitely, it just gets, it changes as life progresses. Because I think when you've got toddlers, as you mentioned, keeping them out of harm's way, getting them to sit still at the table, getting them to eat their food, that's the journey and as you get, go through the ageing process with your children, you get to teens who are hiding in bedrooms and you're trying to collect, collect them down to actually want to eat dinner with you. And I think as you, as you go through those different life stages, there's different areas that you need to manage to encourage children to actually sit down and talk to you. And I a big thing that I've realised as, as I've got, gone through the journey and my children are now ten, nine and nine, is starting that process and starting that open communication as early as possible makes it a lot easier. And I think a lot of people, what they don't realise is that what may feel more challenging at the beginning, when you get to those older years and you've got a real process that's quite enjoyable during the dinner, dinner table time, you, you find that the kids actually want to come and share what happened with their day.They want to share and hear what happened with your day, which is the part that you know, is, is really the, the amazing part that really drives those benefits. It's that communication.

Gillian Duncan 7:50
I love just what you said there. As a family, we have always encouraged sitting at a table. I never really thought, because I grew up in the same way, my parents made me sit down at the table every day as well, for every meal, not just for dinner, and I've taken that into my own family life, and you know, from the start, we've always been around the table. And as you say, it was quite difficult when the kids were younger. We ended up getting a little mini table for them to make, so that they were a bit more comfortable. So they had their table next to our table. And although we weren't on the same table, we were right close to each other. And they had their food at the same time as we did. That was when, you know, we passed the baby stage because I do remember eating on my own a lot. You know, make sure you get the husband fed and the toddler fed and then the baby gets passed over and you just like wolf down whatever food you can get. But when it gets to that point where they can sit down and start encouraging them to sit down, just you know, even for a snack, and then you can build it up and build it up to the point that, you know, eventually we can all sit around the same table and it's not such a chore to everybody. It's just, it's just a habit it becomes. And I love what you said about how it helps, you know, as the years go on, it helps them to sit and tell you about what's happened in their day because that's what I find happens with, with our kids. I find out so much, so when I go to parents evening at the school, there's nothing that, you know, hasn't been said already around the table. My kids have told me how their days been and what challenging aspects have had in the day and, you know, what fall outs have happened at school, you know, what homework they've got faced with the rest of the week. So, you know, I think this is a great tool, and I agree, personally, I find it so beneficial in our family life.

Danielle Barrett 9:45
So I think you're right. So there should be no new news when you when you go to these parent teacher nights because it's all been shared. And I think what I hear is a lot of people realise a little bit later during the parenting journey, how important it is to actually sit down and talk to their, talk to their children. And what happens is when you want to start it, and it's really late in the game, teens are very suspicious, 'Hold on for a second. Why, why do you suddenly want to do this with us? Why are you so suddenly trying to engage with me?'. And if that is the case and if that's where you are in your journey, and you realise that there is something that you're missing, with your, with the communication with your children, a top tip that I give to parents of teens is, look, you can't force communication on, on to anybody, really. But what you can do is you can speak their language, and by that I mean, okay, let's start doing family dinners, one day a week, or it might be a, a lunch a week, or it might be a breakfast a week, and slowly introduce it. What you can also do, which speaks their language is say, is say, 'Hey, I'd love you to pull together a music play list for dinner on Thursday night. I'm going to pick a theme, we're eating Mexican, and I'd love you to pull together a Mexican playlist for that evening'. So, something a little bit fun. They own it, they're engaged. And that's how you slowly introduce a new rhythm to what family life looks like for dinner. Of course, our 'Around The Table' activity cards are also lots of fun, and that provides a game like atmosphere, so that you slowly again, introducing something new to the dinner table that encourages them to come out of their rooms, if that's where they are, or away from the TV, to actually come and share the evening with you. It's really important.

Gillian Duncan 11:44
And you mentioned the TV there as well. It's really important as well, isn't it, to make sure that that TV is turned off, when you're there at the table? Having music in the background is fine, but the television, I don't know about you, but I seem to think that it's a huge distraction, and before you know it they're sort of moving so that they can just see the edge of the television or, you know, they're halfway off their seat to go and watch something. So it's better that it's just not on.

Danielle Barrett 12:13
It's to me, it's like inviting somebody to your dinner table that's going to speak a totally different conversation that's not engaged with you, and they've got a front and centre seat. And all eyes are on it. And it's not just kids, its adults as well. We all do it. It's very stimulating. But the other big issue with television, apart from the fact that it absolutely destroys communication, is that we tend to overeat when we watch television as well. So it's very closely linked to issues with food, such as obesity, and eating disorders because we just don't, the brain doesn't realise that we're full because we're so busy being stimulated by what we're watching on television and that's, that's a key issue for children. And that's a, that's a really strong reason, in my opinion, to remove the dinner table, to remove sorry, the television from the dinner table.

Gillian Duncan 13:11
Yeah, I must say that we have one night a week where we do sit in front of the television. We do that on a Saturday, and we'll watch a film, and we'll eat our pizzas. And that's the only night of the week that we'll do that. But on those evenings, I've got to be honest, I will sit and I will eat, and then I look at my plate, and I look and think, 'Where did my dinner go?', because I had no idea that I've actually, you know, eaten the whole dinner, because I've been so engrossed in the film that I've been watching. So yeah, I think that's, to be more aware of what you're consuming and how you actually feel when you eat, that's another aspect of why the television should be turned off, I think.

Danielle Barrett 13:56
Yeah, yeah. It's all, it's all about mindful eating. So really, actually being conscious of what you're consuming. I describe it to people in really simple terms of when you go to the movies and you see that mammoth bucket of popcorn and you think, 'Who would eat popcorn, that much popcorn ever?', and you buy it still, and you sit down and then you leave and you realise you've just consumed that entire bucket of popcorn. But, but had you said at the start that you could possibly consume all of that, you would have thought, 'No way!'. And that's exactly what television does. It, it just provides way too much stimulation for the brain to actually realise that your tummy's full.

Gillian Duncan 14:40
And how do you feel about mobile phones? What do you, what's the rule of mobile phones at the dinner table?

Danielle Barrett 14:48
I think it's a strong 'no'. Similar. It's all actually about being present. So it's all forms and technology and I, I agree with you when it's the exception and not the rule. So be it. I think having a movie night, even having a picnic on your lounge room floor, it's a bit of fun and that promotes excitement for people to come to the dinner table and want to be there. And you know, spontaneity, that's fantastic. But when it's the norm, and the exception is actually being present and engaged with the conversation around the table, that's when it's a problem. And I think we'll all be honest and say we're all looking at our phones way too much as it is, and it's an hour. Like, give your family an hour of your time and be engaged. And I think that, that's going to be the most important hour of your day. When you look at on my website, the list of benefits of eating regular meals together and being engaged and having good healthy conversation, it is honestly the best hour you could ever give your children.

Gillian Duncan 16:01
And this all pays off, as you were saying, so if we start as a young age, and we build on it, and it becomes the norm and our families open up, I mean, we're not just talking about children, we're talking about our other halves, our partners as well. And that we sit around the table with we're all opening up bro communicating and it might not be anything, you know, particularly personal. You might be talking to my my son's right into politics at the moment with all we've had Brexit going on. So my youngest son has been really interested in it. So he's been great to hear his opinions and his views and what he's been learning. So he's been telling me to watch the news of the teller. That's my son's just been giving me all the information. So it's been really lovely for us to have that that process. And it's so important to find out who these people in your life are. It's not just about him, their problems or You know what's happened in their data, there's a whole lot of other things you find out about these, these people that are in your family, and it sort of opens up this different relationship with them. And it grows as the years go on. And it's so lovely to for for myself to actually see my teenagers being able to sit down at a meal. And not just with me and my husband, but also their grandparents or their aunts and uncles and other social circumstances, because they can sit down and they can be patient, and they can enjoy their meal and enjoy the company of others and have lovely conversations with them. And it's very rewarding to see that as a parent.

Danielle Barrett 17:43
It definitely is. And I think that again, goes back to the benefits, higher foot vocabulary levels, and also better communication and manners. I found in children that regularly eat dinner together with their family. So you You've seen that. And I think what happens is when you're at the dinner table, you have life's conversations. And in fact, you don't dumb it down, if that makes sense. And you have that conversation to say, hey, these are the rates are coming up and these bills happening and what's happening next week, and all of those conversations, because they're part of it is this amazing sense of belonging. They're amazing life skills that are shared. And you're also using vocabulary that's equivalent to an adult or adult conversation, that they're obtaining a little bit here and a little bit there. And then suddenly you find your children repeating words that you've said, you know, a month or two ago at the table, and it's, it's it's amazing how quickly they actually start to replicate that level of conversation that you're having as a family.

Gillian Duncan 18:54
Now, I will say it's all very well and good us saying, sitting here and saying, 'Oh, we spend this time with our family and we sit around the table and this is what we enjoy doing. And we make sure we do this all the time', but for some families, this feels completely alien, because, or just not possible because of perhaps work patterns, shifts. Perhaps they don't have the same room to have a table in their house. A lot of modern apartments they haven't got, they haven't made that facility for a table to be anywhere. There's sort of a lot of hurdles that families have, you know, to actually achieve what we would think is a simple thing, having a table and sitting around it at mealtimes. But for other, you know, for families, not everybody is able to have this time or this facility. What sort of advice would you give?

Danielle Barrett 19:51
Well, firstly, I totally appreciate that because when I had three very young children, I actually didn't ever think it would be possible for me. Like, I really thought I've got twins, twins, one on each hip and I've got a toddler under my feet. I just thought, 'How do we get to this stage where dinner's enjoyable?', but and there's, but there is also the other issues that you raise. There is issues like shift workers. There's issues like Dad works comes home late. Young children need to be fed early. There's space issues that you mentioned. There's lots and lots of reasons that make it challenging. But there's, I think there's a few things that I suppose are myths that we can kind of overcome. One them is, if you even if you get to eat together as a family in some capacity, one night a week, is it worth doing? Absolutely. One, one is better than none. That's the first stop. Don't think, 'Oh, we can't do it every night, so we just don't do it'. Just do whatever you can. The second is, it can be breakfast if that works better for your family. It can be lunch on the weekends. It can be lunch during the week, if, if that works for you and it, or it could be dinner. It doesn't need to be dinner. It's more about the sitting together, the feeling of belonging, and that communication and conversation. So don't limit yourself to the fact that it has to be dinner. The other part with young children and different schedules and all the rest of it. One thing that I found myself doing when the children were very young is, and they needed to eat early and my husband was coming home from work late, and I was torn. Where like, where do I sit? Do I sit with the kids or do I sit with the adults? The benefits are just as good if there's one parent eating with the children, so definitely seen and eat with the kids. If you've got the option to do that early. And the other thing is, you can also work it the other way. Feed them dinner, but often, you know, children will have some fruit or yoghurt for dessert or like a treat that comes later, push that back to when the other parent arrives home. They, that part of the meal, and you eat the actual meal. So just try and be flexible and think outside the square to how you make it possible. But as I say, you know, always, something is absolutely better than nothing.

Gillian Duncan 22:23
Yeah, I completely agree with that. I mentioned earlier that I grew up with my family, my Mum and Dad, making sure that we sat around the table every meal time, but again, you know, there was times in our lives where, you know, for example, my Dad was working away. So, it was a case of so many nights of the week, my Dad wouldn't, I wouldn't see my Dad, actually, through those days at all because he would leave work early in the morning and he wouldn't return until we were in bed. So, there were those days, but the days that we were together, we still ate together, and also, my Mum always sat and ate with us as well. So it wasn't, you know, just a case of, 'Oh, well, we're not all together as a family and we'll just sit where we want'. So that continued and I really, you know, obviously understand the situation of babies and children. I have 18 months between my two and, you know, I do remember that thought of, 'I'm never going to have to sit down and eat a dinner ever again'.

Danielle Barrett 23:20
'I'd love it to be warm'.

Gillian Duncan 23:21
And yeah, well, everything I made, to be honest for the past few years for myself, was meals that I could eat cold. So if it cooled down in the process, it didn't really matter, I could still eat it. So yeah, I know, how difficult that is as well. But again, it's, it's not giving up. And having a goal at the end of the day to do this as a family and to work out how we can, we can do that. You know, I love this idea of your activity cards, and how they can bring a sense of fun as well to the table. To bring a different dimension to this time of being together. Perhaps you'd like to discuss the activity cards a little bit more and tell people just about them and what their purpose is?

Danielle Barrett 24:07
Sure. So a key part of, about 'Around The Table' is that because we want to empower families to sit down and connect over over meals, one of the resources that we offer are our activity cards. It's actually just a bundle of 110 cards that have been written by child psychiatrists, school counsellors and mums that have fun questions and games to play, either pre or during dinner. And what they do is really just add a different dimension to the dinner table, particularly if you are struggling. Or if you're stuck in the 'How was your day?' mode where are you don't get a lot of feedback and you don't get too far with that. It's really, they're really fantastic for that. But what I found is the best part is the kids are sitting down, ready, they've actually might have set the table, and they're ready for dinner, because they know they're gonna get, somebody will get to read a card tonight. And the cards, the cards are 'Table Talkers', 'Tabletop Games' and 'Our Family'. So they're in three different groups. The 'Table Talkers' are simple questions. So for example, I've just, I'm looking at a pack now, and the question that I pulled out is, 'What is your favourite sport to play, and why do you enjoy it so much?'. So in our family, we'd go around the table and answer those questions. And it often is a catalyst that leads our family to a very different conversation. Sometimes it can be taking us to what other family members like to play or what they like to do. Other times, it might just literally be answering the question and we might pull out another card during dinner to talk about. And then things for the games might be something like, 'Wear something to dinner backwards', or it might be 'Talk Like a Pirate over dinner'. So there's some really, yes, really interesting and fun things to do. And there's lots of ideas there. And the final bunch of cards are 'Our Family', and really what those cards are, are about is actually trying to encourage parents and children to share things about their family. So it might be about your parents, it might be about great grandparents, it might be something from your life. Either ask a question, or play a game or share something about you. So you, there's 10 cards and you get to write the questions yourselves on the cards. So just to really make them a quite a personal set of activities that you use around your dinner table.

Gillian Duncan 26:54
I love the family questions, because I know that my kids were, you know, went through a stage of really wanting to know more and more about their family and we don't live close to our family. I live down in the south coast of England and my family are in Scotland. So we don't get to see them too often, and they, you know, they had a lot questions. I didn't realise how many questions they had about our family. And I just remember one stage a few years ago, and I was just getting bombarded with questions about, 'Who are these people in relation to us? And what do they do? And where did they come from?', and it's so important, I think, for the kids to understand their background and, you know, where they're from. And if we've got stories to tell them, then, you know, it's a great time to share them, but when do we ever sit down to do that? So, I think that doing this around the dinner table is, is the ideal opportunity.

Danielle Barrett 27:13
It is. And I think what happened in years gone by is that, you know, people were living in, much closer to each other. So you saw the grandparents, the aunties and uncles, and cousins and everyone more often. So, so I think that real need to, to understand where do you fit into your family? Where do you belong? And what does what does that look like is so important to children. It really gives them a nice sense of comfort and belonging and, and that's really important. The younger children are, the more important it is to share your family history and, and where they fit in, in their part of the world. And that really is what that insight is really what encouraged me to include those in the question pack for our activity cards. Because I really think it's something that seems understanding that information I've made a significant change to our family life where I share a lot more of, of the silly stories you know, that you did when you were a child or your mum did or your dad did. It just becomes all the more important when you understand why it's important to them.

Gillian Duncan 28:57
I also the love the fact that you've put some fun activities in there as well. Because, as we were saying earlier, we tend to be more distracted by television and by our mobile phones or laptops, or whatever else is going on. And I, I truly believe that a lot of our laughter and our fun has really been removed from our day to day lives. You know, a few years back, as I was saying, the community was a bit different. Our families were different. We didn't have those distractions, and people talked to each other a lot more and interacted a lot more. And there was a lot more laughter and a lot more light heartedness, and a lot more fun. Now, I feel that everything has got really serious and, you know, we talk about really depressing stuff. So I think having that little element of, you know, wear something backwards to the table is great. It's light-hearted. It is this something you wouldn't normally do. It puts you on edge a little bit. It's sort of goes 'Oh this feels uncomfortable', but it opens up a whole lot of laughter and a lot of chatting.

Danielle Barrett 30:04
Yeah, I think, I think you're right. I think we, we need a bit more of that in our lives. And I think encouraging that at the dinner table is really important. And if you, as I said before, if you want to get teens or even tweens to the table, it needs to be fun and light. Like, don't open a dinner table evening berating or telling the child what they've not done right for the week, or what that looks like, you won't see them again. You need to make it as light as possible. And and that's one of the key elements as well, to the conversation. You know, maybe, maybe have some rules for family dinner table hot topics that you can't talk about around the table, as rules for your family so that it is kept light so that children do want to come back and so that they start to share. So that when, you know, you're in challenging times, you know who your kid's five best friends are, and you know who they've fallen out with, and you know, you know, what's going on in their lives, what they, what's important and what's not important. And that's all through having that trust through that regular journey of conversing with your kids.

Gillian Duncan 31:19
Yeah, I love that rule, actually. That's just brilliant because having teenagers, myself its, there are topics and there are days where they really just don't want to speak to you. I remember what it was like myself, you know. I remember that, you know, some days you just wanted to grunt rather than create words, and that's just the way it goes. And all the teenagers, they go through the same thing, and we have to remember what we were like at that age. And it's tough and it's a really hard, challenging time for them. They've got so much going on in their worlds. They're changing physically and emotionally. They've got so much work to do at school. You know, friendships are changing. How they see themselves and how they see themselves as part of a family group, that's all changing, and if you sit down at a table, and then start going into the personal space, and trying to get information out of them, and, you know, interviewing them as such, they're just, it's going to turn into a fight, isn't it? And nobody's wanting that. Nobody wants that. So it's better just to back off and say, well, 'We're not going to discuss this over the table. If you want to come and chat to me, you know where I am, I'm, you know, I'm always available. But right now, we're going to have a little bit of light time. We're gonna enjoy our food. It's not gonna be stressful. We're gonna sit as a family', and if that means that that one person wants to just have quiet time, just for a while, then that's fine. And I always let that happen, because eventually, sooner or later, they will be joining in the conversation and the tone of the voice will be so different, it wouldn't be the, 'Uh, okay', it will be the normal, normal speech.

Danielle Barrett 33:00
Especially if you've got your pants on backwards.

Gillian Duncan 33:03
Well, yes.

Danielle Barrett 33:07
Like, 'Mum again?'

Gillian Duncan 33:11
Oh, that's just a normal day! I got dressed in the dark today. Oh, it's great to chat but these activity cards. So tell me what does the future hold for 'Around The Table?'

Danielle Barrett 33:26
Well, it's actually really exciting. 2020 is a big year for us. What I'm planning to do is add another resource for busy families and that will be home delivered meals, which will be complete family meals ready to be on your table in 15 minutes. So the the premise behind that, of course they'll be delivered to your door. The premise behind that is that we recognise that we are all really busy, and it doesn't get easier. As the children get older, it just changes, it just gets different. And none of us seem to be getting any of our time back. So what we want to do is give parents some time back. So, limit shopping requirements. Limit that dreadful task of thinking what to have for dinner, because that's horrible as well. Limit food prep time, and limit the cleanup so that you gather that time that you've saved, and sit down and talk to, to your family. So it's really, I suppose, I suppose, a really big step change that we see that we can add to families to be able to give them some time to be able to fulfil, I think what we all want to do, and we know is important is a sit down and communicate to our kids in particular, but obviously partners as well. But we see this is a really, really big game changing in the game for 'Around The Table' as such.

Gillian Duncan 35:08
It's a big, big shift. From cards to meals.

Danielle Barrett 35:11
It is, it is, and actually with all the meals will come five cards. So, we're not steering away from realising that, that extra stimulation, and a little bit of catalyst for conversation does help and it does go a long way. There'll be quite unique cards to the ones that are in the activity pack so you're not doubling up if you've already bought the pack. But it will come with cards as well. And so again, to keep it fun to keep it light, but to solve one of the key barriers that we've found when we speak to parents is just, 'I don't have time'.

Gillian Duncan 35:47
That's really, really, really exciting for 2020 for you. So I wish you all the best with that new venture.

Danielle Barrett 35:53
Thank you.

Gillian Duncan 35:55
I will put all the links for your website, which provides information about how you can gain access to the activity cards. And also on your website, there's lots of information there, isn't there? There's lots of hints and tips and ways to get to the table for your children, just as we've been talking about, when days are a bit more challenging, or you know, that you've got other things going on in your life and you think, 'I'd really like to try this with my family. I'd really like to sit round at least once a week and have a meal but I've got all these other issues going on. What can I do to get around them?'. So, on your website that there is a lots of different information isn't there? And there's also your Facebook page where you can get in contact with Danielle, and your Instagram as well. So that's, that's a really cool page too, to go and follow. So, I will put all these links onto the podcast show notes at clarityjunction.com, and that direct link to your activity cards.

Danielle Barrett 37:00
Fantastic. And if you have any questions, you can always contact me as well. I love to hear about any key issues or barriers people have. I'm, I'm always open to helping people solve the problem to get more families sitting together around the table.

Gillian Duncan 37:16
That's brilliant. Danielle, thank you very much.

Danielle Barrett 37:19
You're welcome.

Gillian Duncan 37:19
So, thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. I feel more motivated to make sure that my own family spend more mealtimes around the table whenever it is possible. So as you say, it's such a valuable time that we can all benefit from and use it to help build stronger bonds within our family. And that's got to be good for everyone.

Danielle Barrett 37:44

Gillian Duncan 37:45
Thank you so much, Danielle.

Danielle Barrett 37:47
Thank you. Have a great day.

Gillian Duncan 37:51
That's all for this episode. My thanks go to Danielle Barrett for sharing her story and knowledge on how we can build better family relationships by eating together around the table at mealtimes. For more information about the activity cards mentioned in this episode, and for details of Danielle's website, Facebook and Instagram pages, visit clarityjunction.com/familymealtimes.

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