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Family Meetings

Why You Need Family Meetings
If you’ve ever been involved in a project at your workplace to improve communication, relationships or performance, then you know that brief, daily meetings are commonly used to tackle all three topics. It’s no surprise that what works at work can work at home, too.

Daily or weekly meetings are a great way to keep family members who often play, eat and study in different places, connected and communicating with each other. Family meetings cover four critical areas:

  1. Providing praise and encouragement for every family member
  2. Coordinating schedules for the week
  3. Discussing what’s happening in each other’s lives
  4. Developing group decision-making skills

Family meetings are a regular opportunity to heap praise on each other for individual and group accomplishments. Meetings also are a convenient way for everyone to share what’s going on and to make sure everyone gets where they need to be on time and with as little stress as possible. Family meetings help kids and parents develop group decision-making skills by deciding together what TV shows to watch, where to go on a family outing and what to eat for the week.

How to Run a Family Meeting
Have your family meeting when every family member can attend. Meetings can be short –  usually 15 minutes – and can be after dinner, weekly or even bi-weekly. Experiment with different times and how often you have them until you find an arrangement that works for your family. Make your meetings a priority without being inflexible; adjust the time and location as needed and remember that the most important thing is to have every family member present. Once you set a time limit, stick to it.

After calling the meeting to order, thank everyone for being there, make announcements and coordinate schedules, discuss family concerns, make decisions about upcoming events and current issues, and praise members for accomplishments. Be sure to end the meeting on time.

Give all family members an equal opportunity to raise questions, discuss concerns and voice opinions. Practice politeness by not interrupting each other and respecting each other’s opinions, especially when there’s disagreement. Finally, make your meetings fun. While there will be times when you have to address serious issues, lighthearted family interaction should be the norm.

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