Two different types of communication are essential for a family to work together. One is calendaring, and the other is expression.

Calendaring is important because this is what usually gets in the way of a family experiencing life together. Purchase an inexpensive calendar that you are able to write on, or just use paper, writing the days of the week and dates as headings and each family member's names as sub-headings. Fill in the calendar for the week or the month with each family member's activities listed with times. Evaluate the time spent apart as a family. If this time apart is significant, or if there is not time for at least three sit down meals each week, the family needs to adjust schedules.

Communication through expression, through everyday conversation within our family. One person says one thing, and the other person hears something else. When relaying to a small child what you want them to do, have them repeat back what you just told them. This also works for teens, although it might make them roll their eyes, and repeat it back in tones that reflect you, as parents, are so not with it! In turn, when a teen tries to explain something to the adult, have the adult repeat back what they just heard. If there is a discrepancy, correct it immediately.


Create two puzzles and place them in envelopes. One has colored pieces, and the other has only white pieces. The pieces are differently shaped, but both form a 'T' when put together. Place the envelopes with the pieces in either end of a table, with some visual barrier between the ends (like a towel held by two people). Play the game in 3 stages. In the first stage, only allow the person with the colored pieces to give commands to the other person to put the puzzle together. The other person may not speak. In stage 2, allow the other person to give yes and no answers to questions only. In the final stage, allow free conversation between the two ends. In all three stages, the person with the white pieces may not act on their own initiative to put the puzzle together. The goal is to get the person with the white pieces to put the puzzle together using the instructions from the other side.