Family meetings are a chance for everyone’s voice to be heard. This is not a time for lecturing by parents. It’s a time to pull together as a family to figure out how to support each other.
Creating the Agenda
You can put a piece of paper on the refrigerator or a bulletin board where anyone can add agenda items. For example, if your kids complain that they are too rushed in the mornings, you can ask them to put that on the agenda.
Setting a positive tone at the beginning of the meeting is important. You can do this by first deciding who will have each role in the meeting. Next provide time for noticing what is going well and giving compliments.
Your agenda might look something like this:
- Who has each role? Agenda Keeper, Note Taker, Time Tracker, Fun Activity
- Compliments. What’s going well?
- Update on last meetings’ action items
- Topic 1: Sharing the bathroom in the morning
- Topic 2: Keeping the front entry way clean
- Topic 3: Our schedule for next week
- Fun activity
Often one of the agenda items is the schedule for the upcoming week. Knowing who has to be where and when is critical for busy families!
Looking For Solutions
Agenda items will often involve a problem one member is experiencing. For example,
- When Mom comes home from work, the house feels chaotic.
- Dad would like more help in preparing and cleaning up from meals.
- One child feels stressed due to being rushed in the mornings.
- The dog is not getting out for a walk every day.
- There are shoes and jackets all over the front entry way.
- The kids are hungry when they get home from school and can’t find snacks.
After stating the problem, the next step is to brainstorm possible solutions. Write down all the ideas. This is not the time to judge whether the ideas will work, just write them down.
Once you’ve thought of some possible solutions, circle the ones that meet everyone’s needs. Let the person who brought up the problem choose which idea to try first. Know that you’ll revisit how it’s working in next week’s meeting. If the solution is not working well, you can choose a different option.