Reduce school year Chaos with a Family Meeting
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How to Run a Successful Family Meeting and Reduce family stress - Episode 053
What is a family meeting? A family meeting can be set to resolve conflicts or cover topics that help your family run without stress. I believe that family meetings are calm and composed and every member of the family has an equal vote. If your family meetings end up with some fights and chaos and barking orders at one another, then that isn’t ideal and you should probably go ahead and take these pointers on how to run a family meeting.
Family meetings make your days less stressful and help you figure out things and plan. While there are many different modes of communication and some families don’t depend on family meetings, if you're the one who does then here’s how to improve it.
Running a family meeting is not easy and chances are that it won’t go perfectly the first few times. But there is a learning curve to it and with tweaks and adjustments here and there, you can definitely know the perfect way of how to run a family meeting.
One of the things you should decide is the frequency. However, setting a frequency in stone is unreasonable. This is because family meetings need to be held as and when required and those can be set according to your family requirements.
Most families go for holding family meetings once every week which is perfect to set your whole week. If you think your family needs a family meeting once a week then make sure to hold it on a Sunday or Monday so that it is right at the beginning of the week which will help out the whole organization process.
However, when families have more to discuss and organize, then more family meetings may be required per week. For my family, we’ve been holding a family meeting each day to avoid a chaotic school year for my oldest daughter in 6th grade. If your family is going through a tough phase where everyone is transitioning into an new phase of their life then bumping up the frequency is a good idea.
Having a family meeting every day makes life less chaotic and you can touch base with everyone and set a game plan for each day!
Another important attachment to frequency is time. Having family meetings that last for hours is not the best game plan. A family meeting should be for 5-10 minutes if they’re each day and slightly longer if weekly, but spending hours in a family meeting can make them less productive - and let’s face it - boring.
Your family meetings should help your family in achieving something. This may include something as simple as just bonding but there must be a clear purpose.
Right now, my family purpose is to survive each week with as little stress as possible. This requires us to look at afterschool schedules, transportation, homework, and social events.
In these family meetings, you can discuss all other things as well like homework or work progress or how to deal with stressful events but there should be a plan. Because a plan with a goal makes a family happier and everyone knows what they are working towards achieving.
Having a plan also gives a routine. And routines feel reassuring. It allows your family to be in a place of harmony together.
A simple family meeting agenda might be:
What worked and didn’t work last week
Ask each member what events they have for the week (social or otherwise)
Review after school obligations
Assign dates for long term projects or test dates
Avoid nagging each other while discussing topics and distribute responsibility. This kind of layout of delegation and responsibility can also help the model the behavior for younger ones.
Setting the right tone is essential to get your point across. No kid loves family meetings if their parents are bossy and just giving them orders. That doesn’t make a good family meeting.
Make sure that your kid feels like a teammate. That way, they will know that their voice is heard and their opinions matter. They will feel like a valid part of the family and share openly.
So if your family meetings seem to not be going too well then definitely check your tone and be honest about it and change it if needed.
Some family meetings may not require the participation of all the members of your family. Decide what the purpose of your meeting is and decide what who are the primary players accordingly.
Currently, our family is trying to focus on my oldest daughter’s transition to middle school and that makes her a key player. My youngest also has the stress of a new school, but since she is in 3rd grade the workload is different between the two. Hence, we don’t involve my younger daughter in our brief nightly meetings with our oldest. She does hang around if she wants to feel a part of it. This typically involves mocking the workload her sister has.
5. Teachable Moments
There will be many opportunities to teach your kids the right way of things in these family meetings. You can help model their behavior and improve their responsibility and delegation skills.
When there are times of crisis or if they’re facing a problem, then you can seize the moment and help them look for a solution. Trying to teach them how to do the right thing and how to find solutions to problems will help them in the long term and is part of your teachable moments!
Don’t force these teaching moments and look for smart solutions to help them out when in need.
Family meetings may not be part of every family, but they certainly help a family bond and get together through their issues in a more healthy way. Try to rethink your family meetings as a way to build responsibility, problem solving and communication in your family. Let your children be involved in the decision making to show you value their opinions.
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Running a successful family meeting
Reducing stress in teenagers
Surviving middle school and high school
Agenda for a family meeting
Marni Pasch| Host of School Counselor Gone Rogue| Academic Coach | Team Pasch Academic Coaching
I work with students in grades 6th and higher, who struggle with academic confidence and motivation. I help them survive school with less stress by helping them create concrete goals, tackle procrastination and learn creative study techniques. I empower students to take charge of their education and reach their goals. I do this through individual or group coaching so students achieve success in life, school, career readiness and their social endeavors. I provided in person academic coaching in Orlando, FL, but work with students across the country through Zoom!