The benefits of a family meeting weigh much more than any convenience (for example, the teenager who rolls his eyes). The family learns to communicate, solving problems as a group, setting goals, planning and dealing with conflict. It teaches you mutual respect and leadership. It also builds unity in the family and helps you to accept ownership and responsibility for the family. We learn to appreciate each other and express this appreciation. During the family meeting, each member gets the opportunity to play a role or make a contribution, regardless of age. And all this in just 30 mins a week!!!
• Plan a day and time. This time should be fixed and no-one can plan something else in the time slot. Sundays are good times, because everyone is quieter and probably home. It is also a good time to chat about the week ahead, schedules can be discussed and also homework assignments or anything else that may have an impact on the family members. The dining room or kitchen table is perfect for this.
• An agenda is important. In doing so, you stay on a subject and make sure that nothing is forgotten. Put a paper on the fridge with the date of the meeting and the family can write topics that they want to talk about. Always start the meeting with prayer followed by the agenda of the meeting.
• Make rules. If the children are old enough, there may take turns to be the moderator. In this way, valuable leadership lessons can be learned. You will also need a secretary who can take the notes for later review and as a summary of the discussions. There may even be committee members who are responsible for certain things like recreation or pet care!
• A speaking object. It may be a pen, teddy bear or ball, but the one who has the object is the main speaker at the time and cannot be interrupted by anyone.
• Practice age-appropriate democracy. Vote when appropriate, but children must also know that the parents will make certain decisions alone.
• Finally on a good note. At the end of the meeting, the secretary will summarize the meeting and decisions taken after which ice cream can be eaten or games played together! Family meetings can indeed be fun too!
The following topics can be part of a typical house meeting:
• Diaries. One by one the family members can go through their duties of the week. In this way, potential conflict can be addressed and kids will learn how to manage their time better.
• Jobs and chores. It is a good opportunity to confirm each family member's jobs and chores for the week.
• Problems. These are family problems and not personal problems. Brainstorm possible solutions. Teach the children to set short-term goals and report back at the next meeting.
• Fun. Have each family member report on a good thing that happened to him / her during the week. It is also an opportunity to praise and appreciate your children.
• Plan ahead. Plan holidays, family activities, etc.
• Lay down the rules. You know your family, confirm rules that will help everyone stay on the road. Write them down and keep to it. Determine the consequences of broken rules.
• Meetings are mandatory. Do not make or accept excuses.
• No TV or phone calls should be allowed during meetings.
• Always be respectful. Do not interrupt, shout or make demeaning comments.
• Do not criticize the person, but criticize the behavior. Beware of becoming personal. It's not the place to speak to Dawie about his poor marks at school.
• Do not be rigid, but listen openly to the different family members.
• Do not get angry!
• Talk less and listen more! Remember your body language also send messages!
Everyone thinks house meetings are a good idea for someone else's family. Your family is too small, big, too busy and the kids will not like it. If you wait until your children are teenagers, you're right, they do not like it. Teenagers like nothing! Start home meetings if possible when the children are still young, but later is better than never and now is the best time of all!
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