Setting Up A Family Meeting Agenda (Important Things To Keep In Mind)
How to set up a family meeting agenda to make family life more manageable and get the kids involved in decision making in your home.
Family is so important, and family meetings can help ground you and your family into keeping the important things at the top of your mind.
Creating a family meeting agenda can help keep family meetings go smoothly, and if they become a regular thing, they will help the family feel tight-knit.
Creating this sort of bond between the children and the parent creates a certain trust factor within all the members of the family, making it more likely for children to have better communication skills and better behaviour in general.
Here are some important things to keep in mind when starting a family meeting and creating a family meeting agenda.
This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure here.
Tips For Holding A Family Meeting
Family meetings are an excellent way to strengthen family bonds. It can be difficult to find time and energy to dedicate to a family meeting, even for the most dedicated and caring parents.
Even in our busy lives, the most important thing to keep in mind is that strong bonds and connections with our loved ones are what life is all about, and therefore it is a good idea to find ways to keep those connections strong.
Family meetings are all about encouraging communication and creating an understanding between family members about current life situations.
you may never know about your child’s peer pressure issue if they are hiding it well, but having regular family meetings can create this level of trust and love that even the shyest and introverted child can open up and discuss issues they may be facing.
Family meetings aren’t all serious either, they should have a level of fun to them, because family, after all, isn’t all discipline and hard work.
Here are some things to keep in mind when starting to hold regular family meetings.
Encourage everyone to join in: Whether you have 3 people in your family home or 15, you should encourage all family members to join the family meeting. Make sure everyone gets a chance to speak up and use encouraging words of communication to get even the shyest family members to participate.
Give kids the ability to make decisions: Kids should be allowed to make some decisions in the family home, and this can be difficult for parents who like to control the home (like most of us moms!) But the thing to keep in mind is, we are preparing our little ones for adulthood, and adulthood is all about making decisions, so doesn’t it make sense for us to encourage our children to make decisions when they are young? This can really help our children learn how to make the right decisions and help create leaders and thoughtful, structured adults who make good choices.
Keep things light: The worst thing you can do in a family meeting is come off as aggressive and serious. A sense of humour will go a long way when communicating with your family and will help keep those connections strong.
Don’t control who gets to participate: You can’t force family members to participate in the meeting. Make sure you have an open seat for everyone and whoever does not feel like speaking up, should not be forced to. Sometimes it’s just nice to listen, and you never know what family members may be battling with on the inside, so keep the opportunities for communication open and friendly, but do not force members to speak if they do not want to.
Help each other: If one family member speaks up and has a problem, work together as a family and come up with solutions to solve it. Help each other through the hard times, you are a family after all.
Create a calm meeting space: It’s a good idea to find a meeting space where everyone can be comfortable. If the dining room table can sit all the family members then that’s a great space. Make sure everyone has a seat and can be comfortable enough to stick around for the meeting.
Give everyone a chance to record meeting notes: Encourage meeting participation by creating a schedule of who gets to take notes and when. It makes children feel needed and important when they get a chance to take notes at the family meeting.
End with fun: We like to end our family meetings with a board game or a session of funny jokes. ending the meeting on a fun note helps children remember for the next time that family meetings aren’t all boring and drab, but there is excitement too. You can try to play video games as a family or simply tell funny stories of things that happened the past week that made you laugh.
What To Put On Your Family Meeting Agenda
Here are some important things to add to the family meeting agenda. Remember that family meetings don’t have to be long, they just have to cover some basics and create some good strong connections. You don’t need a lot of time for that.
The first thing to do is discuss any concerns and wins that family members may have. For example:
- Are the kids getting too much screen time instead of outdoor time?
- What can we do to make outdoor time in the backyard more fun and enjoyable
- Daddy was sick this week, is there anything we can do to help him feel better?
- Mommy had a lot of meetings this week, and she is so proud of how quiet the kids were during them
This is your opportunity to discuss what is to go on the family calendar in the coming week. Was there a science project that needed to get done and hasn’t made it into the to-do list yet? Add it to the family calendar!
Add all extra-curricular activities, date nights and playdates too.
This helps everyone understand what the schedule is like for the upcoming week and if things are looking really busy, there may be something you can do to ease each other’s workloads.
Things to work on
Pick a few things that everyone has to work on for the following week. If you need to practice being a calm mom or the kids need to work on managing anger, these are things that you can discuss. Remember these are things to work on, not things that need to be perfect by the end of the week.
Talk about nice things
You can discuss as a family nice things that happened to you this week or say something nice about another family member.
You can specify things such as “I really liked when Ben shared the red truck with me, because I was going to be really sad if I couldn’t have it” or ” I loved how the kids were quiet during my important meeting on skype on Tuesday, I was so proud!”
It’s always fun to end the family meeting with a fun activity such as a board game or some jokes. Keep things light and fun, and the family meetings will become easier and the kids will start looking forward to them.
Additional Agenda Item Ideas
Problems and concerns: This is a good opportunity to discuss any issues that family members may be facing. This is also a good time to band together and see if you can come up with solutions to those problems and address the concerns if you can.
Plan Meals: This is an excellent time to talk about family meals that family members may want to eat in the coming week. If someone wanted to try something new or wanted a favourite meal made that week, this is a good opportunity to discuss that. It gives you plenty of time to get to the shop and buy the ingredients you require if you need to make something special.
Things to celebrate: Take this family meeting time to celebrate anything that exciting and good that happened or discuss any upcoming events that need to be celebrated. Upcoming birthdays, class events and even workplace parties are good things to discuss at this time.
Discipline strategies: This is an excellent time to go over some of the discipline strategies that were used during the previous week. Were they successful? Did something go wrong? How can everyone do better next time? Talk about this and see if the kids have any input on consequences and discipline strategies.
Open discussion: Create opportunities for open discussion with your family. Anything that isn’t on the calendar or is related to discipline issues can be discussed. Create an open floor with no judgement and you’ll discover new things about your family!
Acts of kindness: Ask your kids if there is anything they can think of where they can do some acts of kindness in the community or among friends. This can be anything like picking up trash in the schoolyard or bringing an extra lunch to a friend in need at school.
Favourite part of the week: You can always discuss your favourite parts of the week. If anything exciting happened you should discuss it and celebrate it!
Important Things To Do In A Family Meeting
Everyone must have a voice: Make sure everyone in the family gets a chance to speak up. If someone feels like they didn’t get that chance, they could start to feel insignificant and can start to distance themselves from the family. This can lead to a whole new world of trouble. Keep things light and simple, and give everyone an opportunity to speak up.
Coordinate schedules: Now that you’re all on the same page as to what is happening with the calendar based on the family meeting agenda, you can coordinate schedules with each other to make the week run smoothly.
Practice communication skills: Regular family meetings give you a chance to model and learn how to communicate positively as a family. Sometimes family meetings can result in conflict and they aren’t always easy, but it is important to have these moments so you can learn how to deal with problems instead of avoiding them.
Discuss opportunity for family time: Family life is a busy life and it’s important to create opportunities to pause the busy and reconnect. Plan a trip to the beach, the mountains, or a water park and create a day of fun for all the kids to look forward to.
Why Are Family Meetings Difficult?
Why do so many families avoid holding family meetings, despite the fact that they are so important? And why do they face so many obstacles when they do?
Children under the age of four may not be developmentally ready to acquire family meeting skills. Wait until they are sleeping to conduct your family meeting with older children if they are disrupting during family meetings (rather than being willing to play quietly). These initial sessions should last around 15 minutes.
A Family Meeting Training Plan
The First Week’s Agenda
Explain the five elements of family meetings. Inform your family that you will be learning each component for as long as it takes.
1.) The Timetable
3.) Problem-solving brainstorming
4.) An enjoyable activity for the whole family, such as a game, cooking or watching a movie with popcorn.
5.) Mark your calendar for a pleasant family event.
You can devote more attention to the Agenda during the first week. Make it clear to your children that this is where they may write their issues. (Younger youngsters might ask their parents to put their names on the agenda.) Ask if anyone has any difficulties they’d like assistance with.
“How about __?” you may suggest if they can’t think of anything else (whatever problem you have noticed during the day between or with the kids). “I’d want to include burping,” you may remark. Let them know that the agenda will be posted on the refrigerator and that anybody can add anything to it throughout the week. You won’t attempt to address any of the issues until the students have learned how to brainstorm.
Tell your kids that they’ll be learning about compliments next week, so they should start thinking about what they like about everyone in the family so they’re prepared. After then, place the agenda on the fridge and call the meeting to a close.
“That seems like an excellent one to add to the schedule,” you could comment during the week when you observe the students having a problem. Don’t be obstinate.
Simply observe if they do or not. “Would one of you want to put this on the agenda?” you may ask if you notice youngsters arguing. They might or might not. You’re only offering a recommendation that will help people become more conscious of the agenda. When you have a problem, such as a child who refuses to pick up their toys, you might remark, “This is a serious issue. Is it better for you to put it on the agenda, or should I?” You can if they don’t.
Week two is all about compliments.
“We have quite a few items on our schedule,” bring the agenda to the family gathering and say (even if you are the one who has put most of them on there). After we learn about brainstorming, it will be fascinating to watch how we tackle these challenges. We’re going to do compliments tonight. Who has ever heard of a compliment?
1.) Express gratitude for anything that someone has done for you.
2.) “Atta boy,” “atta girl,” “atta boy,” “atta girl,” “atta girl,” “atta girl,” “atta girl,” “atta (acknowledgment of something someone has accomplished.)
3.) Appreciation for a trait that you admire in a family member.
You may walk around the circle during compliments and have everyone say thank you for , atta boy/girl for , or admiration for. “We’ll practise again next week,” remark if they’re having trouble. “We’ll learn about brainstorming next week,” say if everyone does well.
“That would make a wonderful complement during our next family meeting,” you might say during the week when you observe something “good.” Don’t make a note of it or encourage them to remember it. You’re simply raising awareness. Continue to make recommendations and/or add items to the agenda when you notice anything that should be on it.
Week three is all about brainstorming.
Only move on to brainstorming when your children are doing a good job (not flawless) at putting items on the agenda and getting and giving compliments.
Bring the agenda with you. Comment on how much is on it and how excited you are to discuss brainstorming. After that, provide compliments. If they’ve mastered the basics, move on to brainstorming.
When we brainstorm, we try to come up with as many solutions as possible to an issue. They might be useful or outrageous. We will select one idea that we all agree on and test it for a week after we have had fun brainstorming (without debate).
Pick an issue from the agenda and do some brainstorming exercise. Make sure to educate about the wild and crazy aspect by making some ludicrous recommendations first, such as no talking for an entire day. Everyone is going to burp.
If someone begins to criticize an idea, remind the children, “Any idea is acceptable during brainstorming. We may debate some of the ideas once we’ve completed brainstorming before deciding on one that works for everyone.”
Introduce a timer and set it for two minutes, then challenge your family to see how many ideas they can come up with in that time. This may help them stay on target with brainstorming ideas rather than being sidetracked by debates.
“Now let’s take a look at our list and cross out everything that isn’t realistic, courteous, or useful,” remark after brainstorming. Choose one from the remaining options that everyone can agree on. If no one can come to an agreement, say, “Okay, that’s it. We’re doing a fantastic job of figuring out how to accomplish this. Let’s put this topic on the back burner for now and try again next week to see if we can come up with something we can all agree on.”
Calendar of Family Fun Events and Family Fun Activities
After your family has become used to the agenda and praise, these two elements may be added at any moment. You could wish to include one or both in the same week as brainstorming. Alternatively, you might utilise the family fun activity to come up with a list of activities that the kids would want to undertake at the conclusion of the family meeting.
Creating a calendar for family fun activities entails taking the time to write down things you want to do as a family.
I hope that as you read this, you realize that the process is more essential than the end product. You’re instilling lifelong skills in your students. You’re waiting patiently. You’re being courteous and supportive. You might wish to come to a halt if something goes wrong and remark, “We’ll try again next time.”
What is On Your Family Meeting Agenda?
Adlerian documented a number of family meetings in various households some years ago. They spent two years looking for the ideal family gathering. They eventually quit up since they couldn’t find a suitable family gathering. They were, however, ecstatic with the good outcomes in families (better communication, a greater focus on solutions, and more time spent together).
Keeping in mind that errors are excellent chances to learn, the largest blunder committed by parents that prevented the meetings from approaching perfection was talking too much. Family meetings, which give another stage for parents to lecture, are not popular with children. It is necessary for parents to speak less and listen more. Yes, I understand how difficult this is; I’m still working on it.
somehow, we parents believe that unless we are talking, talking, talking, we are not doing our jobs.
Family meetings should be held once a week and kept to the allowed time of 15 to 30 minutes, even if everything on the agenda has not been addressed. This will assist your children in learning the concept of “delayed gratification.”
It also allows them time between sessions to digest what was discussed at the discussion, test the agreed-upon solution, and practise figuring things out for themselves.
Check out the Family Meeting Album for additional information on how to organize your family gatherings. Many of the pages in this book are meant to be printed many times and used each week.
Do you have regular family meetings? What kind of things do you discuss and are you seeing positive results from them?
What You Should Do Next:
1. Subscribe To My Parenting NewsletterSign Up For My Parenting Newsletter for tips on creating a happier home and becoming a more positive parent. As a bonus when you subscribe you’ll get a copy of my FREE Growth Mindset Printout For Kids which is the KEY to raising resilient kids with a growth mindset.
2. Register For A Pretty Awesome FREE 60-Minute Class:Register for a free class called GET KIDS TO LISTEN THE RIGHT WAY; an exclusive FREE class from nationally recognized parenting coach, Amy McCready.
3. Sign Up For A 7 Step Positive Parenting CourseEnroll now in the most in-depth parenting class. After discovering these common sense, easy-to-implement, research-based tools you can learn how to:
- Easily get kids to listen – the FIRST time. No yelling or reminding…not even once!
- Put an end to daily power struggles. Bedtime became a breeze, and all the dawdling, chore wars, sibling rivalry, and mealtime meltdowns disappeared.
- Reduce backtalk by HALF! It’s simple once you know the secrets of these two ‘buckets.’
- Say goodbye to punishments that DON’T work. There’s a 5-step formula that works WAYYY better than time-outs.
- Feel amazing, confident, and empowered as a parent, every day. I NEVER go to bed feeling guilty anymore! (Okay, well maybe sometimes…’ mom guilt’ is still a thing.)