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Let's Chat: Restaurant Cards Spark Conversations In Stratford

Matthew Hines and his family chat with conversation cards at Riverview Bistro in Stratford.
Matthew Hines and his family chat with conversation cards at Riverview Bistro in Stratford. Photo Credit: Contributed

STRATFORD, Conn. — You go out for a nice family dinner and Mom’s checking her online calendar, Dad’s answering a text from work and the kids are busy playing Ballz or listening to tunes on their iPods.

Sound familiar?

Well, the Stratford Partnership for Youth and Families has a solution.

This week, the group, in collaboration with Stratford Junior Woman’s Club and the town’s Economic Development office, debuted Restaurant Edition Conversation Cards, small cards they distributed among the more than 30 participants in Stratford’s Restaurant Week.

Bearing questions such as “What is the best way to spend a rainy day” and “What makes you laugh the hardest,” the cards are meant to make diners put down their cell phones and have a fun, positive conversation.

“This is a great way to get families out to dinner and talking to each other,” said Amy Knorr, supervisor of economic development. “Everyone can put away the cellphones and have a nice family dinner at one of Stratford’s many fine restaurants.”

The cards were inspired by the Search Institute’s 40 developmental assets believe to promote healthy development in children and teens. They build on Asset #2, Positive Family Communication.

Research shows when families have open lines of communication, they can more readily discuss challenging topics, such as alcohol and drug use.

According to the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, teens who learn about the risks from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to try alcohol and marijuana.

The organizations encouraged families to spread the word by snapping selfies with the cards and posting to social media with the hashtag #StratfordTALKs.

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