If you feel scattered or unorganized as a family, family meetings are one of the best things we’ve done to connect and plan as a family. Here are all the details: why we do them, how we organize them and how to start.
Let’s chat about our Family Meetings
Do you do family meetings? We’ve been incorporating them into our Sundays every week and it makes such a difference in how our weeks and months run. Today I’m sharing what we discuss in our family meetings and why we started doing them.
Why we started doing family meetings
As our kids are getting older, we have more commitments and they’re involved in more scheduled activities and sports.
Of course I keep track of everything in my own digital calendar (I shared about my calendaring system HERE), but I want them to feel a sense of responsibility for their own activities and schedules and learn how to manage them on their own.
I also love that we can each get a pulse on how our family is doing, chat about what we need to work on, and adjust as needed so we can start the new week on the same page.
What we discuss in our family meetings
Our weekly calendar
- I have a weekly tear off sheet calendar (LIKE THIS ONE…mine is old and no longer available) that gives us space to write in all our activities for the upcoming week. We write in reoccurring activities, like piano lessons or sports practices, but also other one-off things like appointments, friends coming over, etc.
Our dinner menu
- Philip makes our weekly dinner menu on Sunday afternoon, so during family meeting we write it in on the calendar. My kids used to ask me “what’s for dinner” 1000 times in the afternoons, so I love that my kids can go check the calendar and see what’s for dinner that night rather than asking over and over.
- This is a time that we discuss birthday parties, date night, or trips or other events that are coming up, so we can arrange for a babysitter, make sure we have a birthday present, or make other necessary plans ahead of time.
Family goals and things we can work on
- During our family meetings we also discuss how we’re doing as a family. How did things go this past week, and what went well or what could we improve upon? We talk about expectations for the week, goals that each of us need or want to work on, behavior/ peace/obedience/love in our family, etc.
- The older boys are setting goals now (you can read about how we set that up HERE) and this is a great opportunity for Philip and me to check in on them, and for them to get in the habit of checking in on themselves. How are they doing on that goal? How can we support? Is there something specific they want to work on this week? It’s just a good check in point to remind them of what they’re working toward. They use the Children and Youth program from our church and each week they’ll set a goal from one of the four categories (social, physical, intellectual, and spiritual) and write it in their little booklet. I’ll also write it on the calendar so I remember to remind them about it throughout the week.
Where and when we hold these family meetings
We just hold them at our kitchen table, usually after dinner is cleaned up and before we eat dessert and play a game together.
Having them around the table allows us to be in a casual and comfortable setting where no one feels attacked or pressured. We can talk freely and discuss topics just like we do at mealtime.
I don’t ever want this to feel formal or stressful for anyone. It’s just a time to get a pulse on the family and make sure we’re set up for success for the following week!
How long do the family meetings last?
Usually around ten to fiftee minutes. We try not to keep them too long or everyone gets antsy.
At what age should you start family meeting with kids?
If your kids are super young, you don’t have children, or your children are grown and moved away, I’d recommend doing these kinds of quick check in meetings with your spouse. It’s a great way to check in with each other, your marriage, parenting, your calendar, your health so you can schedule appointments, etc.
We didn’t start doing this consistently until this last year (our kids are 6, 10, and 12) and they are pretty good ages to handle 10-20 minutes of meeting, but not much beyond that.
I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing this with your kids if they’re very young.
What other questions do you have about family meetings? Happy to answer anything!