Do you feel like you and your family are strangers who just happen to live under the same roof? Do you spend frantic moments running out the door to family events you only learned about minutes before? Family meetings can help minimize the chaos and get everyone in your household in sync with each other.
I know it seems impossible to even fathom getting everyone together at the same time, and to do it for something as mundane-sounding as a family meeting seems even more impossible. But if you make them fun, beneficial and short, weekly family meetings can help your household sail along smoothly by improving your family’s communications. And you don’t need to have kids at home to benefit from a family meeting – my husband and I have been empty nesters for quite some time and we still sit down weekly to get in sync with what’s going on with each other.
What would you discuss at a family meeting? You can be as formal or informal as you like, but having a general outline of topics to cover at each meeting will help make sure they are meaningful and nothing (or almost nothing!) is forgotten. Here are some things to consider:
Certainly you’d want to go over everyone’s schedule – who needs to be where when, who’s working late, etc. This will help you coordinate driving/carpool schedules and facilitate meal planning (a whole other topic) because you’ll know who will be home for dinner, and at what time. Even if you share a family calendar via Google or another means, discussing everyone’s schedule can be helpful.
My husband and I go over our bills at these meetings so neither of us is in the dark with what’s going on financially.
We discuss household projects, and determine who will run the errands or make the phone calls associated with those projects.
We go over our social calendars, and plan trips and weekend events.
This is also a great time to bring up issues or problems that never seem to make their way into everyday conversation.
Whatever else comes up.
Add some fun to the meetings. Maybe you can play a game or watch a movie together, go for a walk or go bowling, make ice cream sundaes or individual pizzas – whatever you’ll all enjoy doing together.
As for the timing, it typically works best to have the meetings weekly, and on the same day at the same time. This helps establish a rhythm and make the meetings a priority – people will know not to schedule something during family meeting time. Many families find Sunday nights work best, but find what’s best for your family situation.
Whether there are just two of you or a houseful of people, everyone can benefit from the stress-reducing benefits of knowing what’s going on in the household and being part of the team. Use family meetings to make that happen. These meetings will help reduce your stress and keep your family life running smoothly.
I’d love to hear if you currently have family meetings, and how they work for you.
Wishing you simplicity, harmony and freedom,