We have family meetings in our house, and usually, when we are in the groove, we do them once per week. Sure, there are times, that we get out of the routine and miss some, but eventually we go back to them. Just as in any business, a family unit works much better when things are discussed as a group on a regular basis.
Here are some ideas that we have used over time, but keep in mind that keeping a regular meeting is more important than the details. Also, I subscribe to the idea of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) so don’t complicate it too much initially and don’t try to cover too much in one session:
– Household bills, especially the ones kids can have an impact on like the power bill, water bill, heat, food wasting, vacation planning.
– Paper products use, like toilet paper, paper towel (when we have it) and Kleenex. How to use it and conserve it, (not necessarily with real life demonstrations.)
– Vacation plans
– Sports involvement
– Expectations, chores, family projects.
– Goal setting for the kids. Have them set goals.
Some items to discuss at EVERY weekly meeting are: The weekly schedule ahead, chores to be done, meals for the week, events coming up and a report/up-date since the last meeting (something to tie the meetings together from one to the next). This way, if something important was brought up previously, it won’t be forgotten.
After having several meetings, kids, even the younger ones, anticipate and look forward to them when they get to participate and be heard. It becomes part of their routine that they look forward to and they become more involved and engaged. Yesterday was Monday, and we usually have our meetings on Mondays after supper some time, so as we were eating, our 12 year old asked me if we were going to have our meeting. Mom was at work, having missed some work-time due to illness, so she would be home late. So I told him “No, we will have to do it tomorrow night.” I could see disappointment in his look since he was looking forward to it, but he understood that it’d have to wait.
So, if you are not doing them already, get started by looking at you schedule and get them started. Discuss it with your spouse and kids to find a mutual time and make a list of things to cover, set some ground rules and a meeting format and get on the path of smoother family sailing!
Here is a link for more on family meetings: http://www.positivediscipline.com/newsletters/family-meetings.html