Now You're Talking: JHF Funds 'Family Spinner Project'

Let’s talk: A Family Spinner in use at the home of a Community Day School family.

The Family Spinner is a simple game that gets people talking. The Jewish Healthcare Foundation has supported its free distribution in March through three Jewish schools in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood: Community Day School, Hillel Academy, and Yeshiva Schools.

The game was developed by two mothers of children who attend Community Day: Deborah Gilboa, MD, who practices at the Squirrel Hill Health Center, and Ilana Schwarcz, MBA, an editor and authors' consultant. Dr. Gilboa is also a national speaker on parenting and youth development, known as "Doctor G."

Introducing the Family Spinner to parents, they write: "Do you ever wish that your child told you the really interesting, important things they're thinking about and doing? Would you like to improve their problem-solving skills and social competence? We have a gift for you to make that happen."

No batteries are required for the cardboard Family Spinner. It consists of a circle divided into eight themes — Kindness, Highlight, Gratitude, Challenge, Lowlight, Victory, Compliment, Choice — with an arrow spinner at the center. Family members give it a twirl and then tell a story about the prompt they've landed on. "Everyone else needs to listen without interrupting," says Dr. Gilboa. "And listening is hard … and good for everyone. When adults listen, kids are much more likely to come to us when they have a serious problem." 

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