Family meetings are a great way to keep the lines of communication open, give everyone the opportunity to be heard, and receive necessary support for household issues. We will be implementing family meetings beginning on New Years Eve, 2012.
I have decided that, while any family member can call an emergency meeting at any time, we will have a scheduled meeting once a week. My youngest son is a routine boss & my older son definitely prefers prior knowledge of events and activities that are going to take him away from his own chosen activities.
While we have not yet begun, I wanted to brainstorm some ideas to help us get started & keep things interesting so we can develop this into our regular habits throughout 2013.
I found this page, from Positive Discipline, listing some ideas for a general meeting format and have decided to use it as a sort of template for our meetings.
In our first meeting, I would like to address the, “WHY?” questions about the purpose these meeting serve. My reasons for wanting family meetings are so that we can improve open communication, give everyone a chance to be heard, get help and support for everyone with the issues / problems they are facing, let everyone know that they are appreciated & that they do not go unnoticed, and have some fun family time. The boys are getting older and more mature and I’d like to include them in helping to brainstorm solutions for our family, become more involved in choosing and planning events/activities, and express to them our appreciation for their help.
I’ve come up with this format for our meetings. The first meeting will be dedicated to introducing the format and tools we will be using.
Opening Focus – I believe that taking a moment to wind down and get ready to focus on the meeting is a must, for us. We all are involved, intensely, in our own individual projects that I’d like to have a few moments to “take off that coat,” and come together as a family to focus. I thought a 10-15 minute period of some relaxing music and silent reading or meditation could help us do this. During the first meeting, I thought I’d also ask the boys what other ways could be used to help them calm and come together for the meeting.
The Agenda – The page at, Positive Discipline, suggested hanging a page for family members to write issues, thank yous, problems, and other meeting topics throughout the week for discussion at the meeting. I think this is a great idea. Some of the ideas, I’m sure, will be momentary problems that will have a solution or be forgotten by the meeting time. So, the list will be read aloud and we can choose which ones we would still like to address.
The Appreciation – The page at, Positive Discipline, suggested also recording some of the things for which you’d like to acknowledge appreciation. This list will be read aloud, too.
Brainstorming – Brainstorm solutions for issues presented by The Agenda. Choose solutions to try over the next week. I have one son who is prone to interrupting & overriding everyone else… and I have one son who is relaxed & quiet. I think I may offset their personalities with a “talking stick,” sort of tool to give them both an opportunity to present their ideas without being viewed as disrupting or being interrupted.
The Calendar – An important aspect of the meeting, going over the next calendar week. I am giving each of my sons a calendar, for Christmas, and going over the next week will give them the opportunity to choose events/activities and present new ones they’d like to do. They can put these things on their calendar and know exactly what to expect during the upcoming week without always relying on me for warnings.
Family Time – We’ll conclude the meeting with some family time.. such as playing a multiplayer game, watching a movie, doing a craft or project together, a show & tell, and brainstorm some more ideas with the boys.
The first meeting will be all about introducing the idea of family meetings, the format, and the lists (Agenda & Appreciation) that they can use during the week to collect their thoughts for the next meeting. During the meeting, we’ll hang up the lists, in a place accessible and visible to everyone.
The second meeting, held a week later, will be our first meeting addressing items written on The Agenda and acknowledging items written on The Appreciation.