Overcast   36.0F  |  Forecast »
Edit Module

Family Meeting Regroup

Make time for a family pow wow to get your brood back in sync

Ever had to be at three of your kids' events – at exactly the same time and date? Find yourself texting your tween more than actually talking? Or is your planner a hopeless sea of Post-it notes and scribbles? They may all be warning signs that your family could use a face-to-face meeting. Read on to discover why they're important, how to run them – and tips to make them more effective.

Why gather?

The point of a family meeting isn't much different than what a business might tackle in the boardroom. The key goal: discussing and solving challenges. A few popular prompters:

  • Interpersonal issues. Toy-sharing, name-calling, picking. It's called sibling rivalry, and it's a big culprit. Issues between kids and parents can flair up, too.
  • 'Business expansion'. Whether it's a cell phone or later curfew, setting parameters for new privileges can be cause for a sit-down.
  • Budgeting complaints. Think "bigger allowance." These negotiations need an open forum focused on the task.
  • Sync the family schedule. Get a grip on major events, practices, performances, games, deadlines and other upcoming factors that could affect the entire family. Look ahead, and talk together about what's coming up (and possible obstacles!).

Coming to order

What makes a good family meeting? Naturally, they'll all be tailored a bit differently. But there are a few rules of thumb.

  • Regular basis. Keep them consistent, whether they're once a week or, as kids get older, once a month. They'll become a healthy part of the routine.
  • Have an agenda. Think along the lines of a few bullets – not a turbo "outline" – to make sure you hit the main topics. Otherwise, it's very easy to get sidetracked.
  • Shake it up. That said, it's also good to vary the focus a bit. For instance, you might hone in on scheduling at one meeting – and deeper moral or spiritual discussions at another.
  • Mind the time. Preschoolers' short attention spans probably can tolerate a 15- to 20-minute meeting. Teenagers can handle longer 30-minute meetings.

Tips for the team

To really make your family meetings effective, remember: The true bonding – and life lessons – happen when everyone gets involved. Slipping into a lecture mode simply won't be effective. Keep things kid-centered (and fair) with these ideas:

  • Invite kids to problem-solve. Whether it's sharing toys or letting the dog out, kids can often cook up their own solutions. And they're far more likely to follow through when they helped come up with the plan.
  • Use a 'talking stick.' Some experts also suggest rotating "leaders" for the meetings – and to give a "talking stick" to the person in charge. This could take the shape of a plastic hammer or other object. When someone wants to speak, he or she needs to be holding the stick. When they're done, he or she passes it to the next person (also a great lesson in taking turns!).
  • Follow-up with a fun activity. Pull out a board game, head out over to the bowling alley – or gang up for something else the family loves to do. It'll end things on a high note.

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Holiday Ham Recipes

Holiday Ham Recipes

Still looking for some ideas for your big holiday dinner? This year, try a new recipe for your Christmas ham – thanks to these ideas from Taste of Home, Pillsbury and more.

Hanukkah Crafts for Kids: Holiday Picture Frame

Hanukkah Crafts for Kids: Holiday Picture Frame

If you're celebrating the holiday and looking for quick and easy crafts for kids, this fun and affordable little keepsake is a great way to display family memories.

Dad Gets Unexpected Reaction to Terrible Christmas Gifts

Dad Gets Unexpected Reaction to Terrible Christmas Gifts

British dad pranks his kids with bad Christmas presents, but didn't get the reaction he was expecting – and it's pretty sweet.

Simple Holiday Family Crafts to Make with On-Hand Material

Simple Holiday Family Crafts to Make with On-Hand Material

Does your family have paper cups, Legos, plastic spoons or toilet-paper rolls lying around? Transform them into angels, snowmen and even a chimney for Santa!

Bath Time Safety Tips for Babies and Toddlers

Bath Time Safety Tips for Babies and Toddlers

What's the best way to bathe your child? How can you keep them safe in the tub? A pediatric doctor at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit has tips.

Snowman Dessert Recipes: Tasty and Cute Ideas

Snowman Dessert Recipes: Tasty and Cute Ideas

Who doesn't love Frosty the Snowman? Kids will enjoy making – and eating! – some of these adorable and delicious snowman recipes.

Holiday Stamping Favorite Supplies from Stampin' Up

Holiday Stamping Favorite Supplies from Stampin' Up

Crafty company Stampin' Up offers a variety of fun stampers, punches and paper that transform into cool gift tags, cards and other fun DIY projects.

Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module
Advertisement