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The Number One Trick to Keep Your Family in the Loop

Family meetings - they aren’t just for the Brady Bunch! Having regular family meetings can benefit every family. They’re a great time to coordinate schedules, praise each other, share information, or just connect as a family after a long week. If the idea of adding one more meeting to your to-do list has you running for the hills, don’t worry- family meeting can be quick and fun! To make your family meetings most effective and enjoyable for all family members, consider the following 8 tips:

  1. Aim for the meeting to last 10-15 minutes. Younger children may lose interest after that. If your children are older and have a longer attention span, you can extend it a bit if needed.

  2. Set a reasonable time so that everyone in your household can attend. If you set a regular time, such as after dinner on Thursdays your family can plan around it. We wouldn’t want anyone to get left out of any important decision making!

  3. Make it something to look forward to! There will sometimes be serious discussion but it should not be every meeting. If you only have family meetings when there are serious discussions to be had, your children may begin to dread the meetings. Topics could include something as simple as deciding on a family activity for the weekend, or discussing what movie to rent. Maybe have a special dessert at each family meeting, or have it on your family game night.

  4. Nip problem behaviors in the bud. Before you start having meetings teach your children how to bring up topics and talk without offending others.

  5. Write it down. It may be a fun task for an older child to be the "secretary." A younger child may enjoy the responsibility of putting the “meeting minutes” in a binder that they’ve decorated. Or you may choose to rotate the responsibilities to each family member. Whatever you choose, don’t force anyone to record the meeting- we want it to be an enjoyable time!

  6. Give everyone a chance to speak. You may choose to use a talking stick if you think interrupting will be an issue.

  7. Give positive consequences or rewards. Praise for listening to others, not interrupting, participating in the meeting, and any other positive behavior you see, even if it’s small!

  8. Consider having a regular format, but stay flexible. Agenda topics might include: scheduling upcoming events, brainstorming ideas, giving kudos, and wrapping up the previous week. Allow for open discussion about what is and is not working. For example, if your child is struggling with their morning routine you could help him brainstorm ways to make it work for him.

    Using these 8 tips, your family will be well on your way to becoming family meeting pros! You will find that this time together helps your family become more organized. You’ll also have a regular opportunity to connect and share with each other. Go ahead, schedule a family meeting for tonight!

If you found this information helpful, or would like more support in correcting your child’s misbehavior, Thornwell would love to talk to you. Please reach out to Tracie Seng, your local Family Specialist, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (470) 223-5980. To find out more about the Building Families Program through Thornwell, please visit their website at http://www.thornwell.org/programs/building-families-program/.

 

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