Add Family Meetings to Weekly Routine

Weekly family meetings can help busy families keep communication lines open, said Brown who specializes in family life issues and is a Licensed Marital and Family Therapist.
 “As children get older, their schedules get more complicated. They juggle school, sports, afterschool activities and sometimes a part time job.  Both children and parents benefit from family meetings where they can review all their schedules and reflect on their school or work successes,” Brown said.
 Schedule the family meeting at a time when all family members are available and not tired or otherwise distracted.  Keep the meeting brief and begin with family compliments or praise for each and every member of the family.  Celebrating family successes is important for building continued self-confidence.  
 The family meeting also is a place to learn problem solving skills. According to Dr. Brown problem solving is a protective factor that can be an asset in school or work settings.  Listening, taking turns talking and sharing, and hearing other family members’ opinions are additional benefits of planned family meetings.
 Family meetings also are a time to plan for fun. “Spend some time discussing everyone’s ideas for spending quality time together or even planning the next family vacation. Take turns letting each person select an activity. If a suggested activity has a financial cost, discuss the family budget and make a group decision based on your family finances,” Brown said.
 Use the month of August to schedule your weekly family meetings and begin this new school year with success, fun and open communication.

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