Family meetings are essential to establishing ground rules, maintaining communication, and creating a team-like atmosphere in your home. But the trick to making them work is simply having them each week, without fail. Once you introduce the concept of having a family meeting, make it a regular part of your weekly routine. Additional ('ad hoc') family meetings can be added to the schedule as needed to discuss important topics.
Weekly Family Meetings Are a Time to:
- Sync everyone's calendars
- Confirm social and family commitments for the coming week
- Discuss transportation needs and visitation schedules
- Talk about upcoming school projects
- Voice concerns
- Express needs
- Plan meals for the week
- Allow each family member to share one thing that they are grateful for, or one thing they are especially looking forward to
Special Family Meetings Can Be a Time to:
- Communicate your family rules for the first time
- Discuss future plans
- Mediate sibling conflicts
- Plan a vacation
How to Hold Your First Family Meeting:
- Make a list of the topics you want to address in your first family meeting.
- Set a time for the meeting, and let your kids know when and where it will take place.
- Bring your family calendar, as well as a weekly planner (if applicable).
- Consider bringing a notebook, as well, in case you want to jot down any notes during the meeting.
- Begin the meeting by explaining that it is intended to be a safe place for each family member to voice his or her concerns.
- Practice actively listening to your kids throughout the meeting.
- Go through each item on your list.
- Allow each person to speak freely without being interrupted.
- Once you have gone through every item on your list, ask your children if there is anything else they would like to discuss.