Monday, December 20, 2010

The Family Meeting

I think one of the issues that the holidays bring with them is complete chaos and confusion - and a whole bunch of excitement! So, family rules and regulations might fall by the wayside and some of us moms may feel a bit disrespected when the chores are forgotten and the rules are neglected. 

(As I've been told, "Call the Wahhhh-mbulance!)

There is a point in time - and it doesn't have to be during the hectic holidays - that a Family Meeting is in store! In a family of 8, these meetings are quite often the only way to get everyone on the same page or attempt to get everything back on track. I'm not good at holding routine family meetings, but if I feel like everything is going haywire, I'll certainly call one - on the spot - in a heartbeat! (I just recently did just that!)

For those of you that feel like the family could use some structured meetings, here are some tips:

1) If I was a Perfect Mother, I would schedule a family meeting once a week, mark the date and time on the calendar, and not budge on the time that I set. Rescheduling the meeting only sends the message that it is not important.

2) Turn off the computers, the televisions, the game consoles, the telephones (again, call the Wahhh-mbulance!) so that there are no interruptions or distractions. Try to have the meeting at the kitchen table - not at mealtime - so that it "seems formal" and the children take it seriously.

3) Prior to the meeting, you should come up with an agenda and at the opening of the meeting, elect a secretary to take notes (or draw pictures) to highlight the discussions and decisions in the meeting. Give everyone a chance at the secretary position by rotating to a new person during the next meeting.

3) Start the meeting with a compliment for each person. With big families like ours, you can have the person to the right say something nice about the person to the left of them. (It would also be ideal for the recipient of the compliment to thank the giver).

4) Bring up issues one at a time and work toward a solution. Every family member should agree with the solution. (The whole idea of this meeting is to get everyone on board, right?). This is a great way to teach your children problem solving techniques. Bring up the issue, discuss, then come up with solutions and determine which solution works best for the family. I actually found this worksheet at iMom that I think is fantastic!

5) Once problems are ironed out, this is also a great time to discuss upcoming events, family activities and other items on the calendar for the next week.

6) Close out the meeting with something that the family will enjoy -  a bedtime snack, a quick round of Go-Fish, or a delectable dessert!

The problem solving part of the meeting might be the real reason to hold the meeting, but if you start the meeting on a positive note and end it with a positive memory, it can become a positive part of your family's week, you can count it as quality family time (we ALL need that!) and the kids will actually look forward to the next meeting (if you don't believe me, just try it for yourself - my kids love our family meetings!)!


  1. Love that cartoon. And I love the idea of family meetings. We kind of do this at dinnertime.

  2. I loved the cartoon, too! There are times when I think we need to "downsize", too. LOL Christmas is one of them!

    I think dinnertime is a wonderful time to talk and enjoy each other as a family and it's so nice to hear that families still do that! Thanks for your comment, Nicole!


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