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Start a weekly meeting in the new year

- Choose a time that suits everyone's schedule. If someone can't make it one week, hold the meeting anyway, just so you can get into a routine.

- Don't make meetings mandatory, but do emphasize their importance.

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- If possible, start this tradition when the children are young.

- Keep the meeting low-key and informal.

- Don't allow phone calls or other interruptions and distractions.

- If you are getting into difficult issues, dinner may not be the best time. Reserve dinnertime for casual catching up.

- Decide on the meeting's purpose: Is it to gather information, share news, or to make decisions?

- Alternate roles among participants - discussion leader, note-taker, snackmaker, etc.

- Don't vote. Try to make decisions by consensus.

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- Make time for fun - play a board game, watch a video, or read a story.

- Allow everyone to talk without interruption or criticism.

- Make clear that parents are still the bosses, and that they make the final decision.

- If a problem arises with one member, address it with that person alone, not as part of a family meeting.

- Don't wait for a crisis to call a meeting.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society