Families that have never taken the time to have regular family meetings may balk at the idea. They feel that there is no time for such a meeting or that parents should have the final say in decision-making. Family meetings can be so much more. When you take the time to talk things over with your family, you will all feel better connected, and you will soon find that cooperation within the family will soar. Here is a look at how to conduct a family meeting, what to talk about and what you will accomplish.
Starting a Family Meeting
The most important aspects of a family meeting are to make sure that you start when your children are young and to have the meetings regularly. This means children that are old enough to sit still, listen, and communicate ideas are ready for family meetings. You will also want to have them on a regular basis. Some families prefer to sit down once a week for a short prayer and time to catch up with each other. Others prefer to have a longer family meeting once a month. Make it a regular event and put the date on the calendar.
You will also want to make sure that your kids are interested in sitting through the meeting. You might want to have it right after mealtime and have desserts. You could also do it at dinner time and serve pizza or another kid favorite meal. Another good idea is to make sure that this is the time that you allow your children to participate and communicate about his or her feelings. This should not be a time when mom or dad nags or scolds the children.
Set your Agenda
Once you have a regular time set up for your family meeting, consider what you will talk about. Many Christian families will use this time to pray together and to pray for others. Use this time to think of situations outside your own family that need prayers. Your family meeting agenda would also include how to plan time together as a family such as where to go over the weekend or what to do on a vacation, how to resolve conflicts with siblings or others in the family, and ideas and suggestions about family matters, chores, and routines. When you decide on the agenda, make sure that you do not overburden the family or have too many items listed that children will get bored. Have two or three ideas of what needs discussion and keep the discussions short and to the point.
Listen to All Family Members
During a family meeting it is also very important to make sure that every member in your family has a chance to talk. Pass a toy around the table and the person holding the toy should become the designated speaker. Make sure that the speaker gets undivided attention and that no one, including parents interrupt. Conclude each meeting with a prayer.
The idea behind the family meeting is to make sure that important family issues are discussed by each and every family member. Some family members may resent sitting through meetings while others may really enjoy the opportunity each meeting brings. You need to take this time to reconnect as a family and to get participation from each family member.