There are many benefits to holding regular family meetings that allow for a “time out” to reconnect, focus, and teach children about respect, problem solving alternatives, and sharing feelings. It gives children another place where they will be heard. It promotes “team spirit” by cooperating and working together to discuss issues, decide on solutions, plan fun activities, and share some of the good things that are going on right now. Family meetings are a great way to solve problems that may not be handled in the best possible way because of bad or inappropriate timing. The issues can simply be put on the list and will be up for discussion at the next meeting.
So how can you get started? Plan to meet once a week. Have the meeting last for about 20-30 minutes depending on the ages of the children. Make a LIST OF TOPICS and post it on the refrigerator. The family adds to the list as issues come up without wasting a lot of time, energy, and effort. It’s an easy way to keep track of what will be on the agenda for the meeting. Take charge and decide what topics will be covered for the first meeting allowing time to make decisions and explore alternatives. Allow children to speak first. Take notes on the decisions and plans made during the meeting and post them for everyone to see.
Here Are Some Guidelines For Meetings:
1. Everyone get a chance to speak. Taking turns and having the opportunity to speak without interruption shows respect for each member of the family.
2. Limit complaining as it doesn’t solve the problem.
3. Everyone should agree to stick to agreements until the next meeting.
4. It’s a great opportunity to have some family fun.
5. Make sure to talk about the positive things that are going on in lives right now.
Family meetings are a positive and productive alternative when the daily family routine of “togetherness” may not be enough to help children learn more cooperation by working together.