A family meeting is a time when the entire family gets together to:

  • Make plans
  • Share ideas
  • Solve problems
  • Resolve conflicts
  • Make decisions


For the family that is busy and wants to develop unity, the weekly family meeting is a great help. It enables the family to cope with the stresses that are present in day-to-day living. It is also a good way to: teach family members how to communicate, teach children how to make decisions, promote cooperation to address family concerns, and ensure that all family members, not just a single person, are responsible for following through on important decisions.

A weekly meeting requires time, planning, effort and commitment on the part of every member of the family.


General Objectives

This activity aims to help family members:

  • decide on when and how often to have family meetings.
  • conduct a formal family meeting.


  1. Find a time and a place to hold your first family meeting.
  2. Review the major points noted in the "Tips for Successful Family Meetings" handout.

    Handout 2-Take Out: Tips for Successful Family Meetings
  3. Begin the meeting. Although there is no set agenda, make sure to introduce issues related to food selection (e.g., sharing ideas about next week's menu), food preparation (e.g., discussion about preparing nutritious meals when there is little time) and food consumption (e.g., how to make family mealtime more enjoyable for all). Make sure to give all members a chance to suggest topics for discussion.
  4. At the end of the meeting, have each participant share their views of the family meeting, and make a decision as a family how the next family meeting might be run differently.
  5. Select a time and a place for the next family meeting. If possible, make a time and place for weekly meetings -- for example, every Wednesday evening after dinner at the dinner table.


There are various ways to jumpstart conversation at a family meeting, e.g. sharing a newspaper article about a scientific finding related to food and nutrition, or asking participants to taste and comment on oatmeal cookies prepared using a new recipe with healthier ingredients.

Contact Us

Matthew Kaplan, Ph.D.
  • Professor, Intergenerational Programs and Aging

Contact Us

Matthew Kaplan, Ph.D.
  • Professor, Intergenerational Programs and Aging