Here are some of the potential pitfalls of your next family video chat—and how to avoid them!

Video conferencing isn't just for work anymore! If they haven't already, someone is going to sugggest a big family Zoom. On paper, this is a great idea, but you'll need to follow these tips to make your family video chat a successful one.


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Be specific.

While almost everyone will be able to connect on their own, others may need a bit more direction. Send out an email with the date, time, and theme, if you have one. No joke, this is a thing. This week is Mediterranean dinner night in our fam.

Take turns.

Without a virtual talking stick, someone is bound to monopolize the conversation. Try to use visual cues like waving at the screen to make your point or head off an argument at the pass.

Use the chat function.

If you've got someone rambling, the chat function is a great way to break in without interrupting. Be sure that everyone knows how to use it.

Establish an IT person.

Trust me on this: You're going to need a dedicated IT person to jump in and teach people how to un-mute themselves or get rid of feedback. The younger, the better. The cute ones are less likely to get yelled at.

Keep it short and sweet.

Until you get the hang of it, shoot for 30-45 minutes so people aren't dreading the weekly calls. Even though we're all at home, some things are best in small doses.

Have a backup plan (or two).

Someone will inevitably get frustrated or have a spotty connection. If you see someone disappear, make sure to reach out via text to help them get back in. Zoom might be too complicated, but there's always Skype, Google Hangouts, or WhatsApp.

Have you tried a family video chat yet? What tips do you have for first-timers? Share them in the comments!