Snackdinner is a resource for people who want to be better researchers and better parents.
Google any parenting question and you'll be bombarded with articles, most of which are backed by research and many of which offer contradictory answers. How do you know which advice to accept? How do you evaluate research methods and truth claims as diverse as medicine, nutrition, economics, and education, all of which commonly appear in parenting articles?
No matter how well-honed your research skills are, they'll be useless to you if you can't apply them to your life. What do you do when you can't get your willful toddler to eat any of the meals you've built based on your careful nutrition research? What happens when your thoughtfully-chosen sleep training method is backfiring?
"Snack dinner" was a regular feature of my childhood. Deli meat, cheese, and bread were constant fixtures, which played well with a rotating cast of fruits and veggies and the occasional bag of chips. Most people might call this meal "sandwiches." It's a simple meal that covers all of the main food groups at an inexpensive price point. But "snack dinner" is so much more than that. It's a creative re-branding of a meal that transforms picky eaters into kids thrilled to be eating. snacks. for. dinner!
Snackdinner works in this same spirit, recognizing that good parenting requires both research and creativity. Snackdinner's articles offer research-based parenting advice, but they can also help you cultivate your own research skills. Equipped with a better research toolkit, you can save money on gear you don't need and be less susceptible to the daily barrage of ways the internet tells you "you're doing it wrong." You won't find many "right" answers here, but you will find lessons to help make you a better parent and a lifelong learner.
Research and creativity can help you through all of those early sleepless nights, but they are even more essential skills as your family ages. Parenting follows a life-long, ever-steepening learning curve. It doesn't get easier. It gets harder. But you get better. Our community believes that, with research, creativity, and practice, we can all be better critical thinkers and better parents.
It doesn't get easier. It gets harder. But you get better.
about stephanie loomis pappas
I thought I knew how to research.
I had, after all, written the book on it: a doctoral dissertation in Rhetoric and Composition. I had taught thousands of students both online and on campus, including at Boston College, Northeastern University, and the University of Michigan. I had designed courses on essay writing, blogging, and teaching. In all of these courses, I helped my students become savvier researchers.
Then I had a baby.
Suddenly, the stakes for my research were so much higher. Each Google query transformed into a life-or-death question. The answers to those questions, however, were never satisfying, because they always led to more questions, more panic, more what ifs about that lurking danger that might kill my kid.
I started writing about parenting research here on snackdinner in 2016, which is how I found a new group of students: parents wanting to navigate the dizzying world of baby safety research.
I'm now on a mission to debunk all the bad parenting advice on the internet, not by providing parents with the “right” answers, but by equipping parents with better research skills. I use trending parenting questions about moldy Sophies, raw cookie dough, and Tide Pods as a means to teach parents how to become better researchers.