Growing up, family meetings were an integral part of my family’s dynamic; with four kids, we wouldn’t have gotten much done without them! Today, family meetings, or “table talks,” are still a useful tool in bringing the family together. Whether your family meetings are used to announce exciting news, to settle disputes or to discuss serious issues, here are a few tips to make yours run smoothly.
Decide the Frequency
Will you schedule your family meetings once per week, or only call upon them when there are pressing matters to attend to? More frequent family meetings encourage open communication, while less frequent meetings foster urgency.
Pick a Time
After dinner is a great time to hold a family meeting since everyone is already together. If you have busy teenagers or children with full schedules, pick a time that works for everyone and note it on the family calendar.
Pin a sheet of paper to the fridge or hang a whiteboard in the family room so that everyone – kids included – can list the topics they’d like to discuss such as arguments with siblings, dinner ideas and proposed vacations.
No matter how insignificant you may think someone’s topic is, listen to them without interruption. This is the time when families can show their love and support of one another, and everyone’s voice should be heard.
Mix Light and Heavy
Family meetings don’t have to be all doom and gloom. Instead of using this time to reprimand children for missed chores or to announce sad news, mix in a few positive comments to keep spirits up.
Bring Tasty Treats
Nothing brightens a meeting quite like a bowl of ice cream or a bag of popcorn! Prepare a fun snack to help brighten the mood of your family meeting, especially if the topic in question is a negative one.