I've written about our Family Meetings at some point, but I'm not sure where, so I'll share again what really helped transform our family's story.
Several years ago, when our older was probably 4 and younger 3 years old, we started a weekly tradition on Sunday evenings. I learned about the various ways to hold a family meeting from a library book, and it felt like it would only help us grow as a family. Our family schedules were busy and unpredictable, due to my birth doula work, and sometimes it felt like my husband and I were ships crossing in the night. I really wanted this time together, to build relationships while also having something to count on every week.
There have been months where we don't have Family Meetings, just as there are weekends every now and again where we're all not home together on Sunday night, and we end up waiting until the following week.
We take turns with facilitating the meeting, and whoever facilitates it also gets to choose the activity at the end.
We start the meeting with saying nice things about one another, perhaps something that made us proud or even an accomplishment that deserves recognition. This is followed by sharing things that we want to be better at or we might go around the circle and share what others may want to work on. After this, we review our upcoming schedule for the week, followed by activity time. Activities have included: writing letters, watching a movie or AFV, meditation, games, art, and even a family fire drill.
Some of the reasons we continue having Family Meetings, so many years after we started:
- saying nice things to your partner or children, where we all hear the compliment and recognize the person, feels good and helps us to see each other through one another's eyes
- having space to share our personal goals helps with accountability
- asking one another, in a safe space, to _____ (improve, work on, recognize) something that is affecting the family allows us to be honest and open with each other
- reviewing our upcoming week's activities helps us know what to expect
I expect our Family Meetings will shift as the kids grow, though I really hope they continue to reinforce our family values.