When I attended the Power Mommy Nation Back to School Boot Camp last Saturday, I learned briefly about how Uneeka Jay and her husband use family meetings to deal with issues with their 6 kids still at home. The issues could be something as simple as a new routine for the school year, or something more personal like boys and toilet seats. The value of the meetings is giving all members of the family a say in what happens in the home and a forum to work out issues they might be having with other family members. Parents can also review the house rules on a regular basis, and update them as needed.
Inspired by Uneeka’s stories, I shared what I had learned about family meeting with my husband. We decided to start one with our own family weekly at Sunday dinner. Since 4 of our children are 7 and under, talking during a time when they’re seated for another reason might help them to stay focused on the meeting.
Our first family meeting went fairly well, though one family member made it clear from the start that he didn’t want to participate. His disruptive behavior encouraged my 3 year old to be disruptive himself. We started out the meeting with reviewing the places we would be going to this week. Then we went around the table and each family member suggested an issue that they wanted to talk about. After going around the table again and addressing each issue, we moved onto writing a rough copy of our family rules. The rules suggested by the kids were ones that we’ve told them many times.
Next time, my husband and I will split the note taking and facilitation between us. At the beginning of the meeting, we’ll go over how to behave during the meeting, something that would have helped the first meeting run better. Maybe we’ll learn Robert’s Rules of Order? I also plan to use something visual like a ball or statue to remind the kids which family member has the floor.
Other Family’s Experiences
Leo at Zen Habits has a great outline of how his family does meetings. His meeting format is similar to ours, and his family also uses their meetings to discuss their weekly Family Days. This article on family meetings from Positive Discipline emphasizes a training process that helps children learn how to participate in family meetings during and before the meeting. Emily Geizer’s guest post at The Centsible Life suggests including the family budget as a topic during the family meeting.
I’m already looking forward to our next family meeting and using some of the ideas mentioned in the articles above. I’m particularly interested in starting our meeting with each family member complimenting another one on something they did or said.
Do you use family meetings? If so, how do you run yours? If you would like to share your experience in a guest post, please email me.
Because I love meeting new people and sharing, this post is linked to: