Family Communication Via Family Meetings

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Family Meetings Improve Family Communication

Can family meetings help your family communications? Absolutely.  As our schedules get busier and busier, we’re all looking for ways that we can stay more connected with our families, as well as find ways to hash out any conflicts in a reasonable, mature manner.  What’s one of the best ways to do this?  The family meeting.  Just like in the corporate world, a family meeting brings everyone together, face to face to discuss issues, schedules and plan for the future.  Unlike the typical corporate, you might actually feel like you’ve accomplished something.  So put down the cell phones, take a break from the Wii and get ready to talk.

1. Set a regular time – Pick a time for the family meeting and schedule it.  Make sure that it goes on the calendar and it is not missable.  It might take a few weeks to get into this habit, but once you do, you’ll find that family members look forward to the time.

2. Decide Who’s Included – Obviously your immediate family should be there, but if you regularly turn to some relatives for help – such as babysitting or chauffeuring, you might want to include them as well

3. Have an Agenda – Just like a work meeting you should have an agenda for the family meeting.  It can include the week’s schedule, any upcoming events, chores, and then any issues.  You may want to go over your family’s ground rules – including homework policies, TV and video game rules, and when your children should call you if they’re going to be late.  You can then go discuss any “family issues” – like disagreements, fights or behavioral issues.

4. Pass out the Kudos – The family meeting shouldn’t just be about schedules or the problems.  Remember that this is a great time for everyone to share their “good stuff” – from an A on the test, to a goal scored.  Parents can also share their highlights – whether it’s work related (the big project is over) or personal (all the old clothes have finally be cleared out and donated to charity). Perhaps you you’ll even want to hand out little prizes or certificates to celebrate.

5. Plan Something Fun – take the time during each family meeting to plan something fun.  Maybe it’s the snacks for movie night, a family outing or the upcoming vacation.  This will give the kids something to look forward to and you’ve successfully solicited there input – and made them more invested in the results.

6. Allow Open Time – finally make sure you allow time for the kids to bring up whatever’s on their mind – maybe something that wasn’t on the meeting agenda.  If you sense they’d rather not share in front of others, or you’d rather have a discussion privately, you can always call a recess and talk one on one.

The great thing about family meetings is that they can really open up family communication.  In a crazy, helter skelter world of car pools, work, school and sports, it seems harder and harder for families to connect, especially as kids get older.  A set, scheduled meeting time can help ensure that your family, stays, well a family.

Let us know your tips on scheduling and running family meetings below!

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