Family meetings are a great way to connect as a family and teach our kids some great life skills. In our home, we have seven parts to our family meeting, and each plays an important role in our home life. Read on to see how we hold family council in our house.
Holding a weekly (or even monthly) family meeting is a great way to connect with one another, align schedules, establish rules and expectations, work through disagreements, and learn and grow together. I’ve noticed that the more consistently our family engages in family council meetings, the closer we feel.
We have seven parts to our family meetings. Each has a clear purpose and teaches our kids something important. The seven parts of our councils are:
- Opening prayer and testimony
- Family mission statement
- Role playing rules and expectations
1. Opening prayer and testimony.
We’re a very religious family, so we love to open our family council meetings with a prayer. Then, one member of our family shares their testimony of what they believe to be true. We do this on a rotation, and it helps teach our kids how to share what they know to be true with others around them. Plus, they learn speaking skills and gain confidence. It’s a win/win. If you’re not religious, you can easily skip this part or adapt it to your own beliefs.
2. Family Mission Statement.
We wrote a family mission statement about six months ago, and we read through it at every meeting. We hope to, over time, memorize it. It’s about a page long and delineates what we believe as a family. All family members gave their input, and we created a statement that we feel embodies who we are and who we want to be. It’s one of my favorite things ever!
Next, we go around the room and each person compliments every other family member. We love to see what the kids come up with. Also, it’s so fun to see siblings who, minutes before, were fighting come together and say what they love about each other. And it gives us a minute to reflect on the things others in our family have done for us over the past week. This is a very special time for us!
4. Open discussion.
After compliments, we talk about anything that needs resolved in the house. Any member of the family can bring something to “resolve.” If the kids are fighting over a toy, this is a time to come together and discuss our thoughts on sharing. If one kid doesn’t like doing homework right after school and wants to petition for 30 minutes of play time first, this is the perfect time to bring that up. Maybe a younger sibling isn’t respecting the space of an older sibling. This is the perfect time for the older sibling to bring that up and, together with the younger sibling (and guidance of the parents), come up with some boundaries.
This discussion teaches kids how to communicate, work through disagreements, and compromise. It also teaches them how our actions affect other family members and to consider the “why” behind what we do in our homes. This will help shape them for their future roommates, spouses, etc.
5. Role Play Home Rules and Expectations.
Homes run on rules and expectations. But a lot of times, as parents, we have rules and expectations for our kids that we never actually communicate with them. We just assume they know how to behave, and then get frustrated when they don’t do things the way we expect. I know I’m guilty of this far too often.
This part of the family meeting is meant to help shape that. Throughout the week, I take note of the times my kids do things I wish to correct or teach differently. Then, I prepare some role play scenarios for our family meeting.
For instance, iff the kids keep leaving their socks and shoes on the floor by the front door when they get home from school, at our family meeting, I remind them where we put shoes and socks, then ask them to pretend they’re just getting home from school. And they act it out.
Some scenarios might need a few practice runs (like slamming doors). Some might need longer discussions (like hitting, lying, or name-calling). And some may need a consequence or reward attached to them to get kids to stick to it.
This is a family affair in our house. We believe it’s important to get the kids involved, ask their opinions, teach them to compromise, and help come up with solutions that everyone has a say in. Yes, as the parents, we get the final say. But we really take to heart the opinions and suggestions our kids here. They’re much more likely to comply if they feel they had a part in shaping the rule/expectation!
After we deal with the resolution agenda, we look over the calendar for the week and discuss anything of importance. Nights when mom won’t be home due to a meeting. School projects that are due. Weddings or birthday parties or other events. We get it all written down and sorted out so we all know what to expect for the week ahead.
Before we finish the meeting, we ask if there is anything else anyone needs or wants to discuss. We believe in open communication as a family, and as our kids grow up, we want them to feel like they always have a safe space to come to us.
This closing gives them an easy lead-in if they have something difficult to bring up, and if we always ask it, they know it’s coming and can prepare whatever they need to say for this moment. (Note: Of course our kids can open up to us about tough stuff whenever they want, not just at family council, but this gives them a time they know is coming, instead of having to ask us for a time to talk–which may make the situation even more difficult for them).
Weekly Family Meetings
We try to hold family council once a week, on Sunday, and we follow it up with spouse council. We love having this time as a family to talk and connect and help our home run better. It’s been a huge blessing in our lives.
Do you have family meetings in your home?