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Family Meetings and Why You Should Have them!

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

Family meetings are an excellent way to relay information, discuss issues, and connect with your family. It gives you a chance to check in with everyone, listen to their concerns and work together as a team. You can decide as a family how often to have them, perhaps weekly, bi-monthly or once-a-month, in fact, this is a great topic for your first Family Meeting!

Here are some more reasons why I love Family Meetings:

  • Addressing Concerns: Each family member has a chance to share an issue they've been having and get feedback. Such concerns can be personal (example: "I'm having issues with a friend"), family related (example: "Why does Jack get to stay out later than me"), or household related (example: "We need to spend more time outside instead of on our screens"). Discussing these matters with everyone present is a great way for all family members to feel important and heard.

  • Problem Solving: Family meetings allow your children to be part of the problem solving process. You can model for them how to problem solve and work together to find the best solution for your whole family--nobody gets left out! Example: "We need to spend more time outside as a family, instead of on our screens. How can we solve this problem?" Then allow everyone to generate ideas and then come up with an action plan!

  • Planning: What is everyone upto this week? What would they like to do? Who is driving who where? What future family plans do we want to make together? If you have a family calendar this is a great time to write everything in so nothing gets forgotten!

I can't tell you how many times a child I've worked with has said: "My parents don't listen to me". Well, a family meeting is a great chance for you to allow your child space to share their concerns and to really listen to what they have to say. It also helps them build valuable communication, negotiation and problem solving skills which, of course, builds self-esteem and resilience.

This month's freebie is a Family Meeting handout! Here is how to use it:

  • Post it on the fridge (or somewhere else) so everyone can add their thoughts and see the action plan.

  • Topics: Allow all family members to write down topics they wish to discuss at the next family meeting. Here are some suggested topics for your first family meeting:

- What day and time works best for everyone, and how often should meetings happen?

- Who is going to make the meal we eat during family meeting dinner?

- What activity would we like to do before or after our family meeting together?

  • Family Activity and Meal Planning: I suggest filling this out during your family meeting in regards to your next meeting. What family activity will you do before/after your meeting? Choose something fun to do together. For example: Family walk, movie night, board game, etc. You may also choose to have the family meeting during dinner so in this spot you can plan who is going to make the dinner and what they are going to make.

  • Notes From Meeting: Have someone take notes during the meetings. This could change every week or you can have one person assigned to the task. This is a great way for kids to practice responsibility and contributing.

  • Action Plan: Come up with an action plan for each of the topics. What decisions were made? Who is in charge of what? Who is following up on tasks to be completed?

At each family meeting you will want to have the current meeting's plan and next meeting's plan. I also like the idea of ending each meeting sharing something you are grateful for, or having each member say thank you to another family member for something. Perhaps sharing 'wins' and 'loses' for the week.

I hope this helps and I'd love to hear how it goes for you and your family! If you ever have questions please let me know.

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