The How and why of family meetings. Regular family meetings can be fun and meaningful opportunities for parents and their children to get together. They can serve a lot of purposes from discussing important issues to strengthening and nurturing positive lasting relationships.
Benefits of Holding Regular Family Meetings
However, when family meetings have been effectively organized they can be quite beneficial for everyone in the family. They become opportunities for parents to set the stage that can be carried on in their children’s life, once they become adults.
Here is a shortlist of benefits:
It fosters curiosity in the child
It supports open communication and honesty
Teaches a child to become sociable
It allows them to practice communication skills
Creates opportunities for teamwork and encourages to become part of a problem-solving team
Teaches goal setting and planning to achieve goals
Helps everyone practice empathy learning how to understand others who may have a different point of view
Getting Over Obstacles
Children and parents can be reluctant to make family meetings a regular habit. Why is that so?
Some children may feel that family meetings as a kind of enforcement or policing by their mom and dad. However, things don’t have to be that way. If you have the how and the why in place, you can overcome the initial resistance to this family habit. Whatever you do, make it fun.
Here’s how you can get it done.
Develop a Family Meeting Agenda
You ask your children to come to the family meeting. Reluctantly they agree and maybe they show very little enthusiasm for it at first.
The first thing that you should do is grab a pen and paper and draft a family meeting agenda. I also found out that there are family meeting agendas that you can download online and print.
Make sure to ask your kids for agenda items that they would like to talk about.
Here are a few suggestions:
The family budget
Homework and any help that may be needed
Plans for the coming summer vacation
I only included some of the common things that families talk about. Add and tailor it to your family needs/
Get on with the Meeting
Here are the steps on how you can go on with the meeting. Tailor it according to your needs.
1. Start the meeting. You can start the meeting with a ritual like a prayer, poem, a song. Or simply greet everyone in attendance and welcoming them.
2. Take time to thank each person in attendance.
3. Next is lesson time. Take time to teach a life lesson. It can be anything from how to tie your shoelaces, financial planning, to love and relationships. Ask one of your children to present a lesson next time if they are up to it.
4. Have a week in review. Ask everyone to tell how their week went. Listen!! The little voices are as important as adults.
5. Problem-solving —talk about the items on your agenda.
6. Plan for the coming week.
7. Have a fun game, watch a movie, or just have some snacks.
Remember to make everything flexible and fun. Make sure to give everyone, mostly the children, the chance to speak their minds.
Family meetings can be one of the uniquely memorable lessons that you give to your children.