Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Family Meeting

You know what drives me nuts? When nobody knows what's going on and everyone is running around like chickens with their heads cut off and you've got something planned but then whoops so does your husband so he's forgotten to tell you and whose going to watch the kids. And of course it always falls on the mom to be responsible for either canceling their plans or finding a sitter. Like it would kill him to change a meeting or say "no" to something or call a babysitter...oh whoops I think I went off on a tangent for a moment, well enough about that, besides my husband is going to want to revoke my blog after this :)

So, I always have a nice organized planner and schedule and meals organized and activities planned. But it doesn't do anyone any good because nobody else knows about it. So we initiated Family Meeting:
Well actually I've always liked the idea of having one but sometimes we get busy and slack but our week always goes better when we have family meeting.

1.) I always sit down before the meeting and make my own plans first.  I make sure I include my goals in the plan for the week, such as exercise.  Sometimes in the business of life we can't see that we are neglecting our relationships and time with the people we love.  It is very important to plan according to your priorities.  So I plan time with each of my kids, my husband, and time for me.  Then I also plan meals and I make a grocery list for the week.  I take an hour on Sunday to Plan, before our family meeting.  (There is so much more to be said here....so a post on planning will be in the works.)

2.) Get the whole family together, choose the same day and time each week, we do ours Sunday evening before bed its a great time to do it because everyone is usually home and because Monday starts tomorrow so you might as well be prepared.

3.) Get out your planner and have everyone else get out theirs. i.e. work schedules, sports or other activity plans.  Put every one's schedule together, and work out any conflicts.  i.e. "I'm busy this night so can you pick up the kids."  Or you may have doubled up on something, now is the time to make a choice, which one are you going to do or not do.  Or decide if you can get someone to help or get a sitter...

4.) Family Concerns...I ask everyone if they have any concerns and if there is anything that they need help with or something that is bothering them that they need from me or dad.  Most of the time it is something like the kids would like to go to the park or they'd like to have a daddy date etc.  Schedule in any needs or discuss any problems and possible solutions.  Try the solution during the week and then check back at the next family meeting to see if that worked or not, and then brain storm more ideas.  I'll usually have concerns like I need help with the housework and we will work together to decide what to do about it.  We have decided to schedule a chore day once a week and everyone has to do one big chore.  That works for us now but when it doesn't I will bring it back up for suggestions.  Dad usually has things like we need to kneel for family prayers and obey our parents.  Oh man, I remember when parents were such downers and now I'm one of them.

5.)  Individual goals: usually everyone has a couple goals they are working on and then we talk about how they are doing with their goals and what we can do to help.  For the longest time one of our daughters had the goal that she didn't want to hit anymore (she was 2.)  So, we talked about what would help her and then we worked on it and almost every week she had the same goal but we continued to work on it and then pretty soon it was getting better and better and soon she only hit once that week and then we started working on other goals.  It was pretty neat to see the progress.  It was even neat to hear the kids say what they would want their punishment to be if they hit and how it helped them do better.  I believe kids are good and they want to do good but they need help.  Putting them in charge of their goals helps them learn to be responsible and to understand that they are good but that they just need practice to get better at something.  My daughter did not want to hit and knew that it was bad but she just needed some help getting through it.  She knew what the punishments were going to be when she hit, she had helped come up with the punishment too. 
     Of course you'd want to do this a lot different with older kids but the idea is the same, have them pick a goal and then help them keep track of the goal.  Help them see the rewards when they get it right and to see the pit falls when they get it wrong.  Check up on them and see how you can help them.  Family meeting is a great time to do this.  Help them reach the goal with small steps.  See my post on attainable goals to help with goal setting. (You could even just talk to each child individually for this part.  Although, unless it's really personal it is nice to know that the whole family is supporting you in your goals.) My husband and I also talk about our individual goals at this time too, it shows a good example of learning and growing.

6.)  If you don't already have House Rules and Consequences then your first family meeting would be a good time to do that.  Talk about what rules the family needs and what should happen when they are not followed.  Make sure to print them out and display them in your house.  I love that the kids get to pick their consequences because it helps them remember that it is their choice to disobey and that they are responsible for their own choices.  You could also come up with a reward system to reward good behavior check out my post on Warm Fuzzy Jars for our reward system.

7.)  My hubby and I will then talk, after we excuse the kids, about #1 the budget and how we are going to spend the money.  We have a budget template but there are expenses that come up that require us to make changes regularly.  (Post on budgeting to come) Then #2 concerns about the kids and what we can do as a couple and anything that is bothering us about each other.

Family meeting is all about empowering your kids and teaching them responsibility.  It also teaches them collaboration and teamwork.  It teaches the kids that they are the ones that choose for themselves right from wrong.  You will have to put your foot down from time to time but I have found that when I ask my kids what they think is good and right that they will usually be good and right.  They will need guidance help and direction, they will need consequences.  They will make mistakes but they will know that they are responsible for those mistakes and you will have to hold them accountable.  What I love the most about Family Meeting is that it helps us to make time for the events and people we love.  We are organized to do what we want and when.  We are all on the same page.  No more running around like a chicken with your head cut off.

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