It Can Be Done. How to Hold Device-Free Family Meetings

Getting your family to gather together and communicate can be done, but in today’s modern world, holding device-free family meetings often proves difficult.

As a parent, you’re probably having technology battles on a daily basis. It can be a chore just to get our children to look at us, let alone listen to us. Our devices are so useful and powerful that they fool us into believing that by synchronizing calendars, texting, and emailing, we’re actually increasing our level of communication.

But that could not be further from the truth.

The success of any family is built on the ability to effectively communicate. Text messages and emails are merely exchanges of information, not ideas. It is the exchange of ideas and the ability to learn from one another that grow our children’s experiences and knowledge.

So how do you get your family to start sharing ideas and truly communicating? By checking your egos — and devices — at the door.

Device-Free Family Meetings

Many people think that having a nightly family meal is the best way to foster communication in the home. The family dinner is a great idea in theory, but for many of today’s families, it just isn’t feasible. Work, life, and school commitments keep everyone moving in different directions, and try as you might, it can be very hard to pull off on a daily basis. Not only that, the type of communication that takes place during a meal is generally less focused than the type of communication that takes place in a family meeting or huddle.

The process of family huddles (daily, 10-minute check-ins) and family meetings (weekly gatherings) will teach your children the importance of sharing and exchanging ideas in a manner that cannot be done through the use of technology alone. Think of huddles and family meetings as focused and structured communication time, free of as many distractions as possible.

And they’ve got to have rules. Here are a few to help you get started:

  • Everyone’s voice is as important as every other voice.
  • Support, don’t criticize.
  • Listen when someone else is talking.

Imperfect Parenting

Want to start holding your own device-free family meetings? Download these worksheets that will help you on your way.

Author: Dale W. Vernon
Dale, a business and investment advisor and professed imperfect father of three children, is co-author of How Imperfect Parents Lead Great Families. He is a frequent speaker about the importance of establishing family values, creating a culture of communication in your home and being an intentional parent that understands the importance of being the best example you can for your children.
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