The Secret to Great Family Meetings

family meetings

One day it hit me… I wanted to start having family meetings. You see, my children are getting older, and they’re not constantly by my side 24/7 like they used to be. I noticed that I wasn’t getting to share things with them that I valued and that I felt were important for them to know and learn. I felt like days were flying by without me really connecting with them. So enter the idea for family meetings.

I talked to my husband about it first. He was skeptical but generally bought into the idea… with one caveat… keep the meetings short and light. I had originally thought the meetings could be a time to talk about challenges we were having as a family – thank goodness I didn’t take that tack! If you’ve never had family meetings, don’t let the idea of them intimidate you. Here’s the secret to great family meetings!

Settle on a time.

Choose the most likely time when everyone will be home, free of outside commitments. You’ll also want to think about your children’s energy level. If they’re pretty spent by 7 p.m., start earlier. If your crew is a team of early birds, have your meetings on a weekend morning. We decided to have our family meeting on Sunday evening. The unexpected plus of that time is that we can get an overview of our week ahead.

Bring treats.

To get my children excited about our family meeting, I brought frozen yogurt. It was a great way to get past their initial “ugh” response. Now I surprise them with something special every time we meet: candy, sparkling apple juice served in crystal glasses, popcorn.

Short is sweet.

The keyword here is short. Remember: It was my husband who pulled me back from the brink of family meeting disaster. I envisioned meetings of about 30 minutes. With his input, we streamlined our first meeting to about 10 minutes. Since then, we’ve been able to make them a bit longer. During our time together, I pass out the snack, we have a Bible devotion time (again, light and quick), and we do something fun after the meeting. In fact, it’s my kids who usually want to keep the time together going. At the end of our last family meeting, my son said, “Let’s play family basketball!”

Since then, we’ve missed a few Sundays, but when we do meet, it’s been great. So what’s the secret to great family meetings? Keep it short and bring a treat. {Tweet This} Meeting adjourned.

Here are some other ideas for having the family life you dream of.

Let’s Talk: Have you ever tried family meetings? How did it go?


  • M Way

    Some examples of what you discuss and some icebreakers would be helpful 🙂

  • closeencounter

    Yes, please share some topics of discussion. I think it should be an overall positive experience for the whole family. We haven’t really tried this before and when we briefly did it was because one of the kids was in trouble for something he did wrong.

  • Kim

    We discuss upcoming changes in chores and create family agreements as well. In addition, we’ve given time for each person so speak up about something that has been bothering them (ex: respecting other people’s items left in shared bathroom such as bubble bath, etc.) Also, getting an overview of upcoming events that we expect the girls to participate in (Church BBQ, youth group volunteering, etc) We’ve also added “minute to win it” type games as ice breakers as well as post a NO DEVICES rule for everyone.

  • Diona Navarro (All Day Everyda

    Such a great idea! We are planning to do this with our kids when they get a little older. Right now we try to make this a habit with our 10 year old daughter who is eight years older than our toddlers. I love finding creative and fun ways to get her talking!

  • Stella Ngcobo

    I grew up in a family that appreciated having family meetings whenever there was a need for one. When I tried the same with my own family, my husband was totally against it. I tried a different way using Friday dinner time as “presencing time” . Where each member of our family had to share how the week had been for them. My two children who were both under the age of ten, really appreciated this. My husband who is an introvert never wanted two share. Now as they are adults themselves at 28 and 32 respectively, are closer to me than they are with their father, which sad because he is now terminally it. Their relationship remains tepid and I do feel sorry for them.