Do you have a regular time for your family to come together just to talk? Regular family meetings help build relationships in a family by providing a structure for communication. Here are seven “pieces” to consider including.
by Heidi Indahl
Do you have a regular time for your family to come together just to talk? Regular family meetings help build relationships in a family by providing a structure for communication.
My husband and I are both former classroom teachers, so our family meeting style is similar to what you might see in a school. We assign jobs for each meeting and everyone has a role to play. We take turns with jobs such as opening and closing prayer, humorist, moderator, note taker, and more. Kids and adults share equally in performing each of the roles. All of our family meetings have the same structure, and we keep our meeting materials in a family binder. The job sign-up is in the front plastic page protector, and we can note assignments with a dry erase marker and change them each week.
Within the meeting there is no set formula for what to talk about, but it is good to have a consistent routine. Having a consistent meeting format helps kids feel more comfortable because they know what to expect.
Here are some components to consider for family meetings. You don’t have to include every component. Family meetings can be long or short and can happen at whatever interval works well for your family. We have rotated between weekly meetings, monthly meetings, and even simply on-call meetings (held at the request of any family member) depending on the season of life our family is in.
There are many ways to incorporate prayer into family meetings. You could choose to open and close your meeting with specific prayers or spontaneous prayers offered by an individual. Perhaps you want to use a prayer of petition with each family member offering an intention, a litany of saints, or a decade of the rosary with each meeting. (See 77 Ways to Pray with Your Kids for more ideas.)
We want to make sure we remember to laugh with our kids, and kids can have some great jokes to share. Designate one person each week to select a joke to share. You can have a joke book available, check one out from the library, or encourage children to create their own.
Family Mission Statement Reading
If your family has developed a mission statement, consider reading it at each family meeting to remind yourselves of your common goal. You could do the same thing with a themed Scripture verse.
Scripture Reading & Discussion
You may consider incorporating a weekly discussion of a specific Scripture passage. Ideas include the Sunday readings for the week, selections from Proverbs or Psalms, or reading through a specific book of the Bible as a family.
Goals Check Up
When your family is working towards a specific goal, take a minute to check in with your goals. How is everyone doing? Anything we should work on a little more this week?
Highs & Lows
This is a time for each person to share a high and a low from their week. They can share whatever they want and no one is allowed to argue with them. All opinions are valid! If it seems like a topic needs further discussion you can handle it at the time or you can make a note of the issue and add it to that day’s or a future agenda. Decide in advance how you will deal with those topics and you will be prepared when they arise!
Discussion topics can be completed during their own time during the meeting. Ideas for discussion topics include upcoming events, urgent family business, study of Scripture, and more. We tend to take a lot of our topics from various virtue training programs, such as Laying Down the Rails for Children from Simply Charlotte Mason; We Choose Virtues, and God Made Me To Be Part of a Family from Catholic Heritage Curriculum.