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Family Meetings 101

Family meetings provide opportunities for feelings to be aired and validated. They also allow younger children to feel they are an important part of the decision-making process when it comes to family vacations and other major and minor family functions.

Before the first meeting commences, set a few ground rules such as:

  • Speak in a calm tone.

  • Avoid name-calling, finger-pointing, and sarcasm.

  • Turn off the TV, radio and telephones.

  • Allow each person to voice his or her concerns and ideas.

  • Listen to all opinions before making a decision.

  • If a person voices a complaint, they must also bring to the table at least one possible remedy to the situation.

Locations for future family meetings may also be brainstormed at the first meeting. Here are a few examples:

  • Circle Time

    Very simply, sit on the floor together, in a circle. Designate an object as a "talking token". This can be a small stuffed animal, a necklace to be worn, a hat, or any other item that will be passed around. Whoever holds the talking token may speak. Once they are finished, they must pass the token to the next person.

  • Restaurant Rendezvous

    Take turns choosing a favorite restaurant to host your family meetings. For this option, choose an afternoon or evening in the middle of the week, or at off-peak times, to avoid heavy crowds. End the meeting before dessert arrives, so everyone can indulge their sweet tooth happily.

  • Hobby Haven

    I know of several families who hold their meetings at places that cater to their favorite hobbies. For instance, one family conducts their meeting at a bowling alley. Once the meeting is over, they enjoy bowling together. Another family combines their gathering with their love of books, by meeting at a caf? in their favorite bookstore. And yet another family I know holds their weekly meeting after a joyful round of put-put golf. This option combines family communication and fun.

However, and wherever, your family decides to host the meetings, remember this all-important point: Always end each meeting with a hug!

About The Author

Deborah Shelton is a mother, freelance writer, and author of the brand new book, "The Five Minute Parent: Fun & Fast Activities for You and Your Little Ones." Visit Deborah's website for more family-friendly ideas: http://www.fiveminuteparent.com; deborah@fiveminuteparent.com

In The News:

2018 has been a busy year for space exploration. Here are some of the highlights.
A new kind of giant dinosaur has been described in Russia. Dubbed Volgatitan, the herbivore belonged to a family of long-necked dinosaurs called sauropods. It weighed 17 tons and walked the earth 200 million to 65 million years ago.
Just in time before you send your list to Santa, miners in the far reaches of Canada announced that they found a rough 552-carat yellow diamond, which is the largest diamond ever discovered in North America and the seventh-largest diamond ever found.
Images revealed during NASA's Juno mission have captivated the internet.
An extremely rare U.S. currency note from the late 19th century is expected to sell for up to $3 million when it is auctioned next year.
It's now beyond official: Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, pose a danger to public health and welfare, according to an exhaustive review that looked at 275 scientific studies published over the past nine years.
An Indiana officer got a stunning view of the Geminid meteor shower — known as one of the best meteor shows of the year — from his patrol car late Wednesday.
The shape of your brain may say a lot about the Neanderthal in you.
WASHINGTON — A historic Transylvanian castle that may have once imprisoned Vlad the Impaler — likely inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula — still stands today.
A polar bear cub no bigger than a guinea pig was caught on video at the Berlin Zoo snuggling with its mother.

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