This year, I have had the pleasure of being a Responsibility.org ambassador. I was compensated to write this post, but all opinions of course, are my own.
Have you ever considered having a family meeting?
Wait, let me back up.
Let's not sugar coat it: this year has been hard.
REALLY REALLY HARD.
There is no roadmap you see. No one's prior experience to draw on! My family has been winging it and I know that we are not alone.
I often find myself looking for advice and ways to become more resilient in this season of parenting. And I've never been more grateful for Responsibility.org.
Responsibility.org is a national not-for-profit organization whose mission is to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and to help adults to drink alcohol responsibly as a part of their lifestyle and to and to encourage a lifetime of conversations with your kids.
This year, I have been partnering with Responsibility.org covering topics in this ranging from parents and positive role-modeling, to helping kids navigate friendships, to talking to our kids about underage drinking and responsible alcohol consumption, to parenting in this pandemic.
A few weeks ago, I sat in on a Zoom Call with Meghan Leahy, a parenting coach who writes the parent advice column for the Washington Post. She also recently published the book “Parenting Outside the Lines”.
One of the things she said that really stuck out to me was that being honest, curious, allowing for our mistakes, and apologizing for them builds trust with our kids. She reminded us that we are all building resilience right now because of the pandemic.
But my favorite idea that I got from the call was the idea of having a family meeting.
I love the idea of allowing everyone a space to vent in a safe space , giving the parents (ME. ME PEOPLE) the opportunity to ask for help and planning fun time together. I thought that maybe we had losely been doing this over the dinner table( we have dinner all together once a week), but I decided it needed to be more formal.
Meghan said that a formal family meeting gives everyone a voice and if kids feel ignored during the day, this is something fun for them to look forward to .
According to her, family meetings can be used for anything! They are perfect for every developmental stage, can be used for serious issues, silliness, talking about upcoming events or for talking about concerns and solutions.
But, the ultimate purpose of a family meeting is to listen. Children need to know that we as parents are listening to them, and frankly, parents need to be able to have that attention too.
So I took this idea and ran with it and had our first family meeting.
And afterwards, I wrote down a few things that I think might help some of you. A few family meeting ground rules you might say.
5 Family Meeting Ground Rules
1.Pick a day and a time when everyone is available and least likely to be distracted.
I picked dinner. We all wake up at different times, during the day was so hectic and the evenings, right before we all scurry off to our own corners again, was perfect.
2. Set ground rules
Our rules were simple: no screens, no interrupting, and keep an open mind.
3 Keep it short
Our meeting was 15 minutes long. I think anything longer than 30 minutes you risk everyone getting anxious and distracted.
4.Give everyone a chance to talk
Uninterrupted. We used this time for everyone to talk about a few things.
- What was going well
- What was bothering them
- Anything they need help with
This was great for both Pookah and his parents. LOL. Pookah got to vent about his dislike of virtual schooling,CDub talked about more family time and I got to ask for help cleaning up the kitchen every evening.
5. Close out with Talk about Next Steps
We ended our meeting talking about our takeaways and with an agreement of when the next one will be.
It was perfect and I can't wait to do it again.
So hopefully this post will help you with your family meeting ground rules. Because I think it's something we all need to try and incorporate into our families!
Have you had a family meeting?