A New Day, A New Perspective

Brainstorming, Not Just For Business and School

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photo by Cherry Coley

So what’s the deal with brainstorming?  The term is used loosely all the time in offices, in groups, and in classrooms when there’s a project that has been assigned. 

What about in families?  Brainstorming is great activity for families to learn to discuss, respect, listen and enjoy each other’s ideas.  It allows even the shyest child to take part and suggest things they want to do, places they want to go, movies they want to see, or how they want their room to be decorated. 

There’s no limit on how you can brainstorm with your family.  Some people like to use visual aids like poster boards, index cards, or if you’re a high-tech family, Ipads, laptops, or cell phones.  I’m a big believer in imagination and hands on experience so at times of brainstorming room idea’s my youngest daughter would whip out her spiral notebook and map out the room then draw in what furniture she wanted and how she wanted it placed. 

Here are a few rules to having a fun, creative and productive brainstorming session.

  1. Pick a topic to discuss and limit the session to one topic.  If other topics come out of the session – write them down and make time later to discuss them.
  2. Everyone is involved and gets their own time to present their view of the topic.  While that person is talking, make sure there are no interruptions or comments that would discourage the person talking.
  3. Everyone should take notes and learn to write questions that come up from each person’s presentation.  It is important that the questions are presented in a respectful and open manner.
  4. Have each person do a little research on the topic before your meeting.  This will keep things open, creative, friendly and help to curb opinion only comments.
  5. It must be agreed on – in advance that while each suggestion is important and heard, there will be a vote taken and that decision will stand. 

For instance, if a family is discussing possible summer vacation spots, then each person in the family can offer a place they would like to visit.  They would potentially include some pictures or even a PowerPoint slide show with some of the things to do and reasons why their destination should be considered.  At the end of the presentations a vote should be taken and tallied.  Once the destination is chosen then another meeting could be held closer to the time to go to discuss different activities that will interest each individual so that everyone will enjoy the time together.        

These types of activities are terrific for creating a strong family bond.   It’s also a good opportunity to teach kids about marketing strategies, putting presentations together and even the art of respectful debate.  Family time can get challenging at times, but putting some rules in place helps to keep things on a level playing field and allows everyone to be creative, have fun and feel like they are an important part of the process. 

Cherry Coley ©

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