The Trick to Better Family Meetings

Use Regular Family Meetings to Plan Ahead and Communicate Effectively

Mom and son planning their week.
Use a regular family meeting to plan your schedule. Photo © Thanasis Zovoilis/Getty Images

Family meetings are essential to establishing ground rules, maintaining communication, and creating a team-like atmosphere in your home. But the trick to making them work is simply having them each week, without fail. Once you introduce the concept of having a family meeting, make it a regular part of your weekly routine. Additional ('ad hoc') family meetings can be added to the schedule as needed to discuss important topics.

Weekly Family Meetings Are a Time to:

  • Sync everyone's calendars
  • Confirm social and family commitments for the coming week
  • Discuss transportation needs and visitation schedules
  • Talk about upcoming school projects
  • Voice concerns
  • Express needs
  • Plan meals for the week
  • Allow each family member to share one thing that they are grateful for, or one thing they are especially looking forward to

Special Family Meetings Can Be a Time to:

  • Communicate your family rules for the first time
  • Discuss future plans
  • Mediate sibling conflicts
  • Plan a vacation

How to Hold Your First Family Meeting:

  1. Make a list of the topics you want to address in your first family meeting.
  2. Set a time for the meeting, and let your kids know when and where it will take place.
  3. Bring your family calendar, as well as a weekly planner (if applicable).
  4. Consider bringing a notebook, as well, in case you want to jot down any notes during the meeting.
  5. Begin the meeting by explaining that it is intended to be a safe place for each family member to voice his or her concerns.
  6. Practice actively listening to your kids throughout the meeting.
  7. Go through each item on your list.
  8. Allow each person to speak freely without being interrupted.
  9. Once you have gone through every item on your list, ask your children if there is anything else they would like to discuss.