Could your whole family be in a soul fever?

Years ago, the authors of the book “Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kids,” caught my attention when they discussed how children can experience soul fevers — which were a series of symptoms in children who are suffering and in need of love and care — as if they had the flu.

Like a physical fever, soul fevers also have symptoms. Children can behave in ways that show they are out of sorts emotionally, when they anger easily or have trouble sleeping.

Well, if a child can suffer a soul fever, so can a family.

I have ushered my sweet little family through many, many soul fevers.

In fact, healing family soul fevers is big part of the coaching work I love to do with women.

A family’s bout of a soul fever can show up as a case of the doldrums — or blahs — and often feels like something we all refer to as a funk. Something you just can’t shake but you really, really hope it passes soon. This is just one of the many seasons we all go through.

Family soul fevers can really take a toll on everyone’s emotions and physical well-being and can even end up with an actual illness due to the low immune system from the stress.

Once you know your family’s rhythms and quirks, you can start to easily recognize a family soul fever and how to deal with it appropriately.

Sometimes, what you all need is rest. Or a good family meal full of your favorite comfort foods. A good laugh. A long day trip out of town. Or, perhaps, just a really long chat.

I love to help you find new ways to heal a family soul fever.

But one surefire way I help my family snap out of a soul fever funk — when we feel swallowed up by disorganized chaos or poor communication or negative attitudes — is calling a family meeting. Now, our daughters mostly love our family meetings but that’s because we’ve tried really hard to make them super fun and light-hearted.

How do family meetings help a family through a soul fever?

Oh, let me count the ways!

Anytime we can get everyone in a family on the same page, talk about our values and priorities and have things to look forward to, we instantly begin to work better together and see life through a new lens.

A family meeting is a great way to connect on matters that normally are ignored or become hot button triggers that lead to frustration and yelling.

You can hold a family meeting like that, too.

First, to make your family meeting fun, you 100 percent cannot call it a meeting. 🙂

In fact, we’re going to do a lot of mind trickery in this invitation. This is the first trick. Never, ever give a boring name to something you really want to make happen with children.

What I love about calling a family meeting a Slow Table Talk is the energy this kind of fun conversation can bring to a family that has been feeling disconnected or dealing with a lot of chaos. Over time, as children get older, these easily become family meetings and you’ll be happy when one of your children calls a meeting without you even nagging them.

Imagine just lingering at the table a little longer with a good conversation. This is what parenting wins are all about.

But first there are good policies to have in place for these Slow Table Talks, though.

  1. Assign job duties with fancy titles. (Think Behavior Management Specialist, Yummy Snack Producer, Joy Campaign Manager)
  2. Offer yummy food (put the kids in charge of this).
  3. Make it fun.
  4. Make it meaningful.

Let’s be real.

This is great for younger children, but if you have tweens or teens who don’t play these games, just have a meeting on the couch with a lot of snacks and drinks with the promise of a movie later.

Or take a ride and have this conversation in the car while heading out on a day trip and do it on a picnic blanket during a hike. The point is not where it happens.

The point is to leave space for the conversations just happen whenever and wherever so that you can start to heal the soul fever one conversation at a time.

The very last thing you want to feel is stress or pressure at a meeting to try and get your family on board for a slower, more meaningful life.

In my book, Savoring Slow I offer you four different conversations to bring up to spark some great conversations.


And, if you need more personalized help creating a family meeting system and ritual, I’d love to see if I can help you with that through my family wellness coaching practice. The great thing about 1:1 coaching is that it’s made-for-you rather than you trying to fit someone else’s advice around your unique circumstances. Family dynamics are so personal. You need personal attention to make them work. Schedule a free discovery coffee date with me now with the button on the bottom right of your screen or HERE.

Shawn Fink is the founder of The Abundant Mama Project and the author of “The Playful Family” and “The Abundant Mama’s Guide to Savoring Slow.” She is the mother of twin girls, Jadyn and Liana, and a family wellness coach for mothers around the world. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post,, Scary Mommy, and The Shriver Report.

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