Are you wondering if family meetings are a good idea? Maybe you want to make your family meetings run a little bit better? In our family I have found that even with the young ones a family meeting is a good idea. So how can you have an effective and efficient family meeting?
Start young. If you can begin family meetings when the children are in preschool or elementary school, but remember younger children may not be able to sit still for a long drawn out conversations.
Where and when? It's important to establish a specific time to hold a family meeting. Some experts recommend a weekly meeting but for our family just a call to order and telling everyone that a family meeting is mandatory does the job. However, when the kids get older I know we will have to plan in advance and maybe even make a regular schedule.
Set rules and agenda. Decide what the rules will be for your family meeting and determine your agenda. I know I have laughed at a movie when the mother brought out the talking stick, but something like that can be an effective method of making sure people don't talk over each other. Just remember the rules should give everyone the opportunity to express themselves, make suggestions and be honest. But they also have to be calm, considerate and use their manners, which are all good skills to develop now so they can use them later in life.
Express yourself. Allow everyone on the family to express their thoughts, hopes and dreams for the family. One thing you may want to do is set up a suggestion box, where you can discuss anything from a goal of having a family trip to Hawaii or finding new ways to discipline or solve problems.
Clear the air. I know for me leaving the house "go" is a serious problem. I am uncomfortable, I become angry and resentful and I can't work efficiently. While the family meeting isn't a time to be mean it is a time to let everyone in the family know that this is something that really affects my attitude and my ability. Once the family knows that this is a problem we can address it.
Make a record. No, there is no need to hit the road with your "act" but you do need to record the meeting and the decisions that are made or topics you need to revisit. Make sure you set dates to do so. One example could be a school trip that is coming up that the family needs to talk about because of money, chaperons or any other concerns. It's important those are all resolved or decided in a timely manner so no one misses out on an opportunity.
Turn it off. No telephone, televisions, iPods are other distractions are permitted at family meetings. Sure, you may want to use one item as a recorder, but everyone else needs to leave it at the door.
Have some fun. Order a pizza or make a special dessert together. Schedule a family fun event like bowling or a game night to celebrate the end of the meeting. Family meetings are important but it helps if they are fun too.
We can discuss our goals, talk about our dreams, and as the children grow so quickly, cover new rules that the family must follow. Other advantage to our family meetings is that we get a chance to talk things out, working together to form solutions and everyone in the family knows that their ideas and suggestions are important.Read more by this contributor