A family meeting
gives everyone a voice
We started planning a weekly family meeting when our kids were old enough to articulate preferences and suggestions about the family goings on. We sat in the living room and discussed how things were going, like the
. We also used this format to begin a discussion about
Now we’re all a little busier and we have chosen to have a working dinner (LOL!) once a week.
We have a
that lives on the refrigerator that anyone in the family is welcome to contribute to during the course of the week. When it’s time for the meeting, one child is in charge of retrieving the agenda and guiding us through it. My kids came up with that idea—they love to be in charge.
The priority of the agenda topics is discussing items that want to bring to the table. We see any number of trends, including:
I can’t emphasize enough the power in giving kids a chance to talk to each other about an issue that’s bothering them. The family meeting format gives everyone an opportunity to discuss problems in the way and there are two huge benefits that I’ve seen.
- First, all parties involved are much more calm when it’s not the heat of the moment.
- Second, my kids are much more likely to actually listen when the issue is brought up in front of the family.
Even if there’s no resulting action, just having a voice is sometimes good enough.
systems breaking down
This one is usually mine, and I have to really try to pick my battles here and not be super negative. It is an opportunity to talk calmly about problems I’ve noticed, and to even solicit input and suggestions from the kids about things that affect them.
As the family gets more and more busy, giving everyone a clear idea about what to expect is important. Some kids are very sensitive to changes in the schedule and I sometimes forget to mention something like “Dad will be working late on this night,” or “Grandma’s going to babysit you on such and such afternoon,” or even fun things like “there’s a birthday party next Saturday.”
Sometimes that’s all we get to. If we have time, though, we get to the fun things, some of which overlap the
nightly love chat
- What was your favorite part of the week?
- What was the worst part of your week?
- Who in the family deserves a special ‘thank you’ from you?
- Who in the family deserves an apology from you?
- What book are you reading right now/what was your favorite book you read this week?
Try planning a weekly family meeting to create a platform for family communication. It’s a great way to stay connected!
Go to Routines for Kids from Family Meeting