I was reading this article the other day about resolving household conflicts and it suggested to discuss problems during your Family Meetings.
Say what now? Family Meetings? What an excellent idea! I’m up for anything that quiets the storm around misleading expectations, communication failures and outright denials. You know, family life.
I’m ready for this, are you? Here are some tips and topic ideas for holding a successful family meeting…
- Decide ahead of time how matters will be resolved. Consensus rules? Parents have veto power? Set the expectation so there will be no question or rebuttal when final decisions are made.
- Schedule a regular meeting each week and consider doing it around a fun activity to keep the kids engaged. Maybe a “Sundae Sundays” where everyone gets to make their own overloaded bowl of sugared dairy (I’m in) while discussing the family business. Negotiating allowances goes much smoother with hot fudge sauce. Fact.
- Also, keep meeting notes of decisions and other notable topics in which everyone will sign. This leaves little room for the “I didn’t hear you say that” or “There’s no way I would have agreed to cleaning up dog poop for .10 a bag” discussions. Because, yes you did.
#1 Extracurricular Activities
My son is on three sports teams and my daughter is on two, plus voice lessons. You can imagine the military type precision we must keep around scheduling. Review practice, lessons and game times for the week and make plans to resolve any scheduling conflicts (request rides from other parents, alert team of absences, etc.) That way, you won’t be like me showing up at the wrong field with the wrong child for a practice that had already been cancelled earlier in the day.
#2 Homework/School Project Deadlines
Have you ever seen that Most Interesting Man in the World meme that says, “I don’t always know when my kids’ school projects due, but when I do, you can bet your (bleep) they’re tomorrow.” Exactly. Unless you like running to the Dollar Store at 7pm the night before a project is due, discuss supplies and time allotments way before deadlines hit ya where the sun don’t shine.
#3 Household Decisions
Discussing the possibility of getting a new pool, dog, finished basement? How about planting a garden, redecorating a bedroom or signing up for a summer camp? Depending on the financial nature of the topics, parents may have final say but discussing it all together gives everyone a voice to feel heard.
#4 Family Fun
Family meetings are a great time to discuss fun events and activities to do together. Start brainstorming your summer bucket list, throw out ideas for next year’s spring break, make plans for the weekend. Ideas are discussed and then voted on (or however you decide, pick out of hat?). Keep the conversation light and positive—you are discussing fun after all!
#5 Ways to be of Service
Ending the meeting with something positive is a must—allow each member of the family to offer a way they can be of service to the family, household or others, for the upcoming week. Offer to deliver end of year school supplies to your child’s classroom, bring dinner to a family with a new baby, donate old linens to the SPCA or help a schoolmate with an important project. Don’t forget to share what each person did for the previous week’s service and how it was helpful. Now that feels warm and fuzzy!
Have some successful tips of your own for Family Meeting? Share them with us in the comments below!