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Scheduling Time: Learning How To Hold A Family Meeting

School. Work. Jobs. Sports. Your family is very busy, and it can be difficult to spend any time together. Holding regular family meetings can help set aside time to hang out, talk about specific issues your family needs to discuss, and even prevent some stresses from spilling over into your day-to-day life.

“When my kid wants something from me during the week—I need this … now—I will respond that I’ll be happy to talk about that at the Sunday meeting,” says Bruce Feiler, author of The Secrets of Happy Families and an advocate for regular family meetings.

Don’t know how to add family meetings to your routine? Here are five tips.

5 Tips for Making Family Meetings Part of the Routine:

1. Meet at a regular time.

Try to hold the meetings the same time and day each week. Plan to spend from 20 minutes to an hour. Note: Anticipate that your teenagers may not be thrilled about this. Stick with it until it becomes just another part of your routine.

2. Pick a style.

Some families choose a roundtable style, where every family member gets a turn to talk. Other families might prefer an agenda.

3. Determine how you’ll make decisions.

Some families make decisions by simple majority vote. Other families may prefer to make decisions by consensus, so the children can’t outnumber the adults, and the adults maintain their right to the final say.

4. Save time for compliments.

To set a positive tone, talk about the good things, too. Thank each person for some help given during the week. Ask people to talk about something good that happened to them that week.

5. End with something fun.

Make a special treat. Watch a movie or Sunday night football. And don’t forget to make plans for a fun activity for the next time, so you have something to look forward to.

Jane Parent, former editor at Your Teen, is the parent of three.

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