Now that you understand just how helpful a family meeting can be for your family, you will need to know how to plan and lead these meetings so that you have an effective meeting. These do not have to be formal events, but they should take place on a regular basis if you really want to get all of the benefits that a family meeting has to offer you.
These 7 tips are will help ensure these meetings will be successful:
- Plan for a time when everyone can make it.
It may take a bit of work but you really need to make sure that the time works for everyone. To emphasize its importance, once set, other activities should be scheduled around the meeting time. Ideally, you’ll meet every week…but this can be adjusted as the children age and level of activities increase; however, everyone needs to attend to experience the full benefits for the family.
- Try to keep it positive.
Even when there are serious matters being discussed, there is a way where you can be more up-beat during these meetings. For instance, start by having everyone compliment each other or have everyone talk about the good things that happened to them this week in addition to anything on the agenda.
- Encourage everyone’s involvement.
It is not a true family meeting unless everyone is involved. You should really encourage everyone in the family to discuss anything that is on their mind or they should be able to offer solutions for a problem that someone else may be struggling with.
You might want to use something like a “talking stick” or some symbol meaningful to the family. (Heck, it could be a banana!) What’s important is that the speaker gets to hold the “talking stick” and, when holding it, can speak without interruption. Everyone else truly listens. When someone wants to comment or reply, they request the “talking stick” and they get to speak uninterrupted. This way everyone knows that they will be truly heard in the family discussions.
- Give everyone a chance to lead the meeting.
Rotating roles in the meeting every week can help everyone feel like they matter in these meetings. You want them all to feel important and like they are in control rather than have one of their parents control the meeting all of the time. What a great way to develop leadership skills in the children!
- Make an agenda for the meetings.
You should go into every meeting with a clear agenda. This agenda should include items like catching up about events during the meeting in addition to a major topic that may need to be addressed, such as a lack of pitching in around the house.
Perhaps an “agenda box” can be created and put in a specific place in the house. Each family member that has a subject to discuss can put the idea in the box. The leader of the week can have the responsibility of gathering the ideas and leading the meeting agenda. For the younger children, they can be paired to an older child or an adult and they can do this task together.
- Solve problems during the meetings.
During the meetings, you should resolve issues that are not conducive to a happy home or to any of the members in the family being happy. You should never move onto another problem until you have resolved the first issue, taking care to come up with a resolution that works for everyone.
- Prioritize the family meetings.
Family meetings need to be a priority for everyone in the family including the parents. If you are not prioritizing these meetings, you cannot honestly expect your children to. Do whatever you can to place these meetings first, even if that means you have a meeting in another location like a park or on a road trip.