Try This Trick to Improve Family Communication • Science of Parenting • Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
While families continue to find themselves together under one roof, as they are “staying home”, it may be the time to involve everyone in a family meeting. Family meetings are a great way to communicate honestly with one another and can help all members feel safe during these very uncertain times. Routines have shifted, school is happening in different environments and parents may be working from home. The new ways we are accommodating to the Coronavirus is shaping how we can continue to be adaptable in the future. With all of these factors in our new realities, it’s important to make sure to check in with all family members and a family meeting is a great way to do it all at once!
A family meeting may sound formal, but it is really quite simple. Agenda items for the family meeting might include:
- Menu planning – what food do we have in the refrigerator and pantry, and who would like to help prepare and serve the meals.
- Computer usage – who needs the computer connections for work or school projects and how can we share so that everyone can have access for what they need.
- School projects – can older siblings assist younger siblings with any additional school projects or work?
- Family game time – each family member can take a turn picking a game to play
- Question and answer session – provide some time for individuals to share their concerns or ask questions. Ignoring situations that are on the news is not helpful, but always consider the age and appropriateness of shared information.
We also suggest beginning each family meeting with a round of compliments. This helps all family members feel appreciated and recognized for being an important part of the family.
It may sound corny, but family meetings are a simple way to get everyone in the family on the same page and enjoy some quality time together!
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