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