One unit: 3 Essential elements for productive family meetings
Now that school is in full swing in our house, family meetings are an essential part of our weekly routine. Between two working parents and three boys who are active in school and the community, we all need to be on the same page. Family meetings are an excellent time to talk about what we are doing, what we need to do, what we want to do and what’s working as a team.
So why a family meeting?
Consistent and effective family meetings can increase independence, promote responsibility, provide accountability while decreasing miscommunication among all family members. Family meetings can also reduce stress, develop problem-solving strategies, and reinforce vital life skills among children.
Are you a new blended family? Did you just adopt? Does your family deal with a lot of change? Then family meetings are an excellent routine for consistency and structure for your family.
Running your family meeting doesn’t have to be complicated. So let’s spend some time identifying three elements you can put into practice this week for your family meeting.
Set a consistent date
Family meetings are productive when they occur on a regular basis. This is important. The consistency of family meetings communicates our time as a family is important. You separate from phones and television to zone into each other. What does that look like for your family?
- Think about a day and time where all family members are available and are less likely to be distracted and rushed.
- Pick a location away from distractions and is neutral.
- Begin on time and end on time. Time consistency reinforces to children the importance of timeliness and structure. Identify one person to be a timekeeper letting everyone know when there are 10 minutes left in the meeting.
- Be sure to end the meeting with something fun and positive.
Identify what’s important
As the adults, we can use family meetings to set the tone for our homes. We can model respectful behavior, problem-solving skills, and conflict resolution in front of our children. Awareness of our language and behavior helps to cultivate the way we want our children to treat others in and out of family meeting time.
- Use the family meeting time to discuss family values, beliefs, or even create a family mission statement. Each person can explain why these statements matter in shaping who you are as an individual.
- Discuss upcoming events for the week, goals, and expectations. These conversations often prevent miscommunication later.
- Develop a strategy for handling conflict. Help your children understand how to use their language when they are frustrated, upset, or disappointed.
- Celebrate the wins! This is a must. Spend time identifying areas each person contributed to the family without adding anything extra to it. What area did your spouse improve? How did your child step out to try something new? Whatever it is—acknowledge it and spend time rejoicing together.
At the end of each meeting, summarize important events, responsibilities, and celebrations. Each family member should feel heard, appreciated, and respected when a family meeting concludes.
Allow everyone to participate
Whether your children are have just started sitting at the table, or you have teenagers, family meetings are suitable for children at any stage. Parents will often hold a majority of the family meetings when the children are younger or when establishing the expectations of the meeting. Even though parents will guide the meeting, it’s is essential each person can contribute to what is happening in the family.
During family meetings, each person is contributing to the conversation. This is not a time for parents to talk “at” their children. It is not a lecture. Family meetings are an ongoing dialogue to create space for each person to share and discuss in a safe environment.
Very well said! Leading by example, in my opinion, is a fundamental skill we can teach our children and/or family. I strongly believe what we think and speak have an impact on our loved ones. I also love the focal point being based around the health of everyone’s relationship, how the family meeting is an opportunity for a safe place to air any and all ideas. <3
Mamie L. Packbrunogotguts
I love this. What “we think and speak”!!! It starts with us as parents. What do we think about ourselves spills out into what we believe for our families and how we speak to our children. Yes!!!!!
I like the tips. But I get a lot of push back. The consistent time, like say Sunday after dinner, doesn’t work consistently because of activities. So I do it when I can. We look at upcoming week and talk expectations. The kids, tween and teen now, should, theoretically, plan their own homework without so much guidance these days but it’s tough. So yes, I agree, family meetings are crucial. Sometimes flexibility as to when they need to happen is required. 😊
Mamie L. PackClaudette
Flexibility is important. As a military family, we have learned the art of ebb and flow. 😆
This was great! Consistency is definitely key in my family too, especially since we only have a limited time with our kids since we’re a blended family. We do our best to create normal and these tips will definitely be employed for the Pinckneys! Thanks Lady 💕 Keep em coming 💕
Mamie L. PackGeraldine Pinckney
Oh, thank you.
I love the concept of family meetings. I do this as well it does help tremendously. After the family meetings all of my children and husband and myself can’t leave me out are on track, less stress, and motivated throughout the week. I believe family meeting are the best way to get everyone involve so everyone is on one accord.👏🖒😊
Mamie L. Packcrystalthorntonleadbyexample
Exactly Crystal! The more we can get everyone on the same page the smoother things can go.
I love the concept of family meetings as well. We try to carve out time each day, for uninterrupted, unplugged time as a family. It’s hard since we’re a full time travel family, and we work completely online. We’re managing though, and having these tips will help even more. Thank you.
Mamie L. PackTraveling Holmes
Wow!!! Full-time travel. Such a phenomenal experience to give your children.
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love family meetings! It’s important to come together!
Mamie L. PackFitFamilyLifeBlog
Yes it is! Do you have regular family meetings?
Love the idea of family meetings. My kids are small but I for sure plan on doing this soon.
Mamie L. PackAngel Sames
Even while they are small, you are able to set the tone for what you do in your home. How you celebrate and how you tweak expectations are great starters.
Angel SamesMamie L. Pack
Very true. Didn’t think of that!
Oh I nevrr evrr thought over family meeting.need to do tht
Family meetings are so good! Gets everyone on the same page.
Mamie L. PackElizabeth Nunes
Yes it does! Especially when you have multiple schedules.
Modern Moms Club
Family meetings is such a good idea. We usually only had them when problems occurred while growing up. I can see myself making it a weekly thing in my household in the future.
Mamie L. PackModern Moms Club
Weekly meeting are great because you get to celebrate, make adjustments along with addressing concerns.
Lorena y Lennox
Great tips. I will keep this in mind when we start having family meetings =)
I love this idea! The questions seem perfect. Thank you for these tips!
This is especially great for a blended family where miscommunication between households can become an issue.
Mamie L. Packonehoppymomma
Absolutely!! I have several friends who use family meeting to help coparenting work well.
This is so important and you give some great tips!
Mamie L. Packariannepeters6986
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[…] could help each other. We decided these questions would become a part of our weekly, often daily, conversations. Allowing him to help me, showed me I could be safe even if he didn’t fold the towels the way I […]
I love this idea! My husband and I are always having impromptu meetings and get frustrated with all the interruptions. I think this will really help!
Mamie L. Packtheadventurousallens1
It’s great you are having the meetings even if they are impromptu. It a place to start.
Love this! We have an unofficial meeting every night at dinner and we go over upcoming events, new rules, etc. It’s a great way to keep communication open between the 5 of us 🙂
Sonja- Too Much Character
This is a post I will save for later once my kiddos are a bit older. I love the questions you included – especially in verbalizing how to support each other in the upcoming week.
I never thought of having family meeting but I love the idea when my kids are older.
Wonderful post! And loved that you in fact did mention the fact that it’s important to let everyone talk.
Mamie L. PackAvanti Chaturvedi
Thanks Avanti! Allowing everyone room to talk allows for everyone to be heard. That is just as important.
I love these key points. It’s an especially good reminder to not talk at your children when they are younger and you’re doing a lot of the directing of the conversation. Thank you!
So good. My family used to have family meetings and I loved that they made us closer as a unit. I should really consider doing them with my own family.
Wow. I absolutley love this. I never even thought of doing it but after reading this i see how important it is! Thank you!
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Wow this was so helpful! I’m not to this point in my mama journey yet, but I love to see great ideas before that time comes! I’ll definitely be saving this!
Mamie L. Packayslynne15
Thanks so much for reading.
Ah this is a great article! I think once my kiddo and future kiddos become of age, I will definitely consider doing family meetings like this. Thanks for the info!
Mamie L. Packchiellabratelife
Yes! It is definitely some thing to keep in your back pocket.
This is definitely a goal of mine once the kids get a little bigger. Great tips! Thanks so much for sharing
Mamie L. PackSarah
Mamie L. PackSarah
Oh, yes! I wish I knew to start this when our fellas were little.
I love the idea of a family meeting! Keeping it consistent and giving everyone a chance to be heard are great suggestions!