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With every year that passes, the family dynamic gets more complex. Our schedules get busier, and it seems we need something to help reconnect our family again. One thing that people do in a business to keep everyone on the same page is have weekly meetings. This was when I realized there is a type of meeting that families can have that would be similar and just as effective! So, today, I’m sharing all the details about how to create successful family meetings and why they are essential to your family.
Begin with the Mission in Mind
The first thing I recommend doing before beginning your family meetings is to create a mission statement as a family. Having a mission statement is important because all the members of the family need to know what you’re striving to do. “Why do we have to keep the house clean?” Because part of our family mission statement is to be welcoming to others, and having a clean home helps us feel ready to welcome others in it.” The mission is a reminder of what we, as a family, are working toward daily and will give your meetings clarity.
Keep it Simple
Meetings can be 15-20 minutes once per week. They can be done before or after a meal. If you have little ones, then it may be best to schedule the meeting after eating. This is better so you don’t have to listen to how hungry they are the whole meeting! I love having family meetings after dinner because the family is already together, and no one is rushing out the door.
The general outline of the meeting can be:
- Upcoming week plans and who is doing what
- Special projects/events
- Past issues and improvements since the last meeting
- Fun wrap up that ends on a positive note
Did you notice I didn’t add vent session, lecturing, or fighting? Really be mindful of the tone you and your family sets for these meetings. This is a time to build together in a positive way and to teach positive communication, even when feedback needs to be given.
It’s important to set some guidelines to keep the meetings productive and timely. Here are some of my recommended guidelines:
- No cell phones or screens on during meetings
- Get a “talking stick” to make sure there are no interruptions when people are talking
- Set a timer with a reasonable set time as each person speaks to keep the meeting from running over
These guidelines will help keep you on track and focused. Family meetings are not business meetings, so make sure you add some fun elements into your guidelines too. One idea is that you all hug at the end or make up a fun song or chant to do together at the end.
Family Meetings for the Win
When the family comes together and has weekly meetings, you create the space not only to set the tone for the week ahead, but you’re holding each member of the family accountable for taking an active part in the family. It’s no longer on one person to be preparing for the upcoming events (i.e. birthday parties, appointments, etc.)
It’s about looking at what resources we have in our family to work together and accomplish tasks that need to get done:
- Looking at the strengths of each person
- Who likes to do what
- Assigning and delegating
- Creating the feeling of “I’m a part of a team” and “I’m responsible for something in this home”
In addition, you can air your grievances in a controlled environment with a desire for an outcome. It’s not a vent fest. This is an excellent opportunity to teach your kids how to resolve arguments – agree to disagree, compromise. Many times we feel these types of skills should be taught at school, but we need to take it upon ourselves to teach these skills to our own kids.
As you can see, family meetings are not about telling people what to do or complaining about what is not being done. Who wants to be a part of that team anyway?
Family meetings, done the right way, make for a stronger teamwork dynamic, accountability, better trust, and healthier communication. We make our family a priority by setting aside time for each other. So, a family meeting is one of the greatest tools to help create a stronger unity. If being stronger together is a part of your family vision, then family meetings need to be a part of your schedule too!
Ready to start having family meetings in your home? Grab The Successful Family Meeting Guide and get started today!
Originally written for my blog.