We started having family meetings years ago as a way to come together, make an announcement, or talk through an issue that affects our family. In my home, we have family meetings to make decisions and get everyone’s vote. This is a focused time when the entire family comes together. It’s not during a meal or in the car. Our family meetings happen in our living room with everyone engaged and no technology to distract us. Both parents and kids can call a family meeting when they feel it’s needed. Family meetings can be a great idea for families to get on the same page and communicate.
As foster parents, we have a family meeting each time we are offered a placement to talk through if it will be a good match for our family. Doing this gives our family a sense of unity and teamwork as we serve together in this way.
There are many ways to hold a family meeting. Here are the 5 most important things to do at your family meeting.
1. Give everyone the chance to have a voice
Parents hold the majority of the decision-making power in families, but kids have some great ideas too. A family meeting gives each member a chance to talk about her needs, wants, and ideas. A child can feel empowered and valuable when she feels heard by people who love her.
Parents hold the majority of the decision-making power in families, but kids have some great ideas too.
2. Sync your schedules
Family meetings give everyone the chance to make plans and understand what’s happening in the family. It is helpful to be on the same page and talk through events coming up, makes schedules, and plan ahead. Doing this helps everyone feel unified and kept in the loop. Even planning out your family meeting agenda can be helpful at times.
3. Practice good communication skills
Having regular meetings gives you a chance to model and learn positive communication as a family. Sometimes family meetings can bring on conflict. It’s not always easy, but it is necessary to teach your kids how to communicate needs and work through struggles in a healthy way.
4. Bring up concerns
All families have issues and disagreements. A family meeting is a safe place to clear the air and create resolutions. Check out these tips to reduce family conflict. Make sure this doesn’t dominate your time and set boundaries. You don’t want everyone to think family meeting time should be called family fighting time.
5. Open the door for quality time
In the busyness of most family schedules, it is good to hit the pause button and reconnect. Family meetings give everyone a chance to spend time together. After your next family meeting, invite everyone to hang out after it’s over to do something fun. Here are some good ideas for family time.
Now you know why family meetings are so important and can start planning your next one. Be sure to make it great!
What benefits has your family seen from having family meetings?
Teri Claassen is a Jesus follower, wife to Dan, mommy to one boy and one girl, a foster mom to kids in need, and a therapist at Renewed Horizon Counseling in Tampa, FL.