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  • Writer's pictureAileen Miziolek

How to Build More Quality Family Time and Relationships: Essential Tips

A family standing together against a white backdrop, with five adults and one child in centre left.
Having meaningful relationships for all generations.

In the fast-paced world we live in, finding quality time to connect with our family members can be a challenge. Enjoying family celebrations, dinners and spending time together in ways that are busy with tasks and activities that are fun is important – I’m an avid believer that a family that plays together stays together. While fun activities put a smile on our face, can increase positivity in the family and are instantly rewarding, they can be fleeting – they go by quickly and don’t often provide an opportunity for deeper dialogue as a family. The question is, how can we build more quality family time and have better relationships.

Why does this matter? Families are always in the state of flux. New things are continuously emerging as family members grow and evolve. While things might be simple when children are young, life quickly gets more complex as children grow and grapple with many life challenges, influences and choices. As the family matures, ensuring quality time also includes having quality conversations as a family can be the difference between a family that feels close and connected to one another vs. one where individual family members feel more isolated in their emerging struggles.

One structure that can proactively support and strengthen family relationships is having regular family meetings. Family meetings can provide a reliable space and process to bring important issues to the table at an appropriate time - when people are intentionally present to the conversation and prepared to discuss what’s coming to the surface. Whether the family meeting is addressing challenges around curfew, or in later years around the long-term care of parents, or about opportunities for vacationing together, having discussions with the appropriate amount of candor and input can lead a family to experience itself as a team - where each person’s voice is heard on a matter and appropriately considered. Not only does this give family members the sense of being seen and heard, which increases individuals’ sense of belonging, but it also provides the family better insight into what is emerging and how well-prepared (or not) they are to manage what’s coming up.

Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, family meetings that provide the appropriate level of transparency and fairness in how they are conducted can lead to more trust within the family. Improved trust in family relationships is not something that can be taken for granted, it needs to be built intentionally and proactively nurtured.

Unfortunately, we don’t automatically trust people just because they are family. There are many competing interests in families that can erode trust between its members. Family meetings are an opportunity for carving out an intentional space in time and creating a process together for building trust. Building and maintaining trust is at the heart of why it’s important to build “Quality” into family time. We all want to create the kind of families, where member lean-in because they trust that they will find support in the relationships that make up the family.

In sum, regular family meetings can be an effective structure for creating quality family time by fostering communication, strengthening relationships, and addressing important family matters. Here are 15 ways in which family meetings can contribute to this goal:

  1. Open communication: Family meetings provide a dedicated time for family members to talk openly, share their thoughts, feelings, and concerns, and actively listen to one another.

  2. Bonding time: Spending time together during family meetings helps strengthen the emotional bonds among family members, which is crucial for building a sense of togetherness and trust.

  3. Problem-solving: Family meetings are a platform for addressing and resolving issues, conflicts, or concerns in a collaborative and respectful manner, promoting problem-solving and conflict resolution skills.

  4. Shared decision-making: Involving everyone in the decision-making process, from choosing activities to setting family rules, ensures that each family member feels heard and has a say in family matters.

  5. Goal setting: Setting family goals during meetings can help motivate family members to work together towards common objectives, whether they are related to education, health, finances, or personal development.

  6. Time management: Family meetings can help the family plan and schedule activities, chores, and responsibilities, which can lead to a more organized and efficient family life.

  7. Establishing family traditions: Family meetings are an opportunity to create and nurture family traditions, which can be both enjoyable and meaningful, creating lasting memories for all.

  8. Teaching life skills: You can use family meetings as an educational platform to teach important life skills, such as communication, problem-solving, financial literacy, and conflict resolution.

  9. Celebrating achievements: Acknowledging and celebrating family members' accomplishments during meetings can boost morale, self-esteem, and motivation for future endeavors.

  10. Quality time for updates: Family meetings allow family members to update each other about their lives, share experiences, and celebrate milestones, fostering a sense of connection.

  11. Ensuring inclusivity: Family meetings ensure that every family member has a voice and feels included, promoting a sense of equity and fairness within the family.

  12. Conflict prevention: By regularly addressing and resolving minor issues in family meetings, you can prevent conflicts from escalating into more significant problems, creating a more harmonious family environment.

  13. Positive reinforcement: Family meetings can include positive reinforcement, such as praise and encouragement, to motivate family members and build self-confidence.

  14. Learning from one another: Family meetings provide an opportunity for family members to share their knowledge and experiences, fostering mutual learning and personal growth.

  15. Reducing stress and anxiety: Knowing that there is a regular time to discuss and address family issues can reduce stress and anxiety, promoting overall well-being within the family.

To make family meetings effective in creating quality family time, it's essential to establish a consistent schedule, maintain a positive and supportive atmosphere, and adapt the format to suit the needs and preferences of your family members.


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