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The Power of Family Meetings: Fostering Executive Function Skills and a Positive Household

Updated: Aug 2, 2023


As parents, we witness our children grow from dependent babies to independent individuals with unique thoughts and preferences. Our home should be a safe space where they can freely express themselves. Setting boundaries and allowing them to make decisions within those limits is crucial for their development and future success. One effective way to achieve this is through regular family meetings. In this article, we'll explore the science behind why family meetings work, provide strategies to implement them, and offer a comprehensive agenda to make these meetings impactful and engaging.

The Science Behind Family Meetings


Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive effects of involving children in decision-making processes. When children actively participate in family meetings, they develop a sense of autonomy, responsibility, and ownership over their choices. This "skin in the game" empowers them to make better decisions and builds their confidence in navigating life's challenges.


When children feel valued and heard within the family unit, their behavior improves both in the presence of their parents and when unsupervised. This validation and inclusion create a nurturing environment where children feel secure, loved, and respected. This aspect of family meetings is crucial for their overall growth, emotional well-being, and development of vital life skills.


Now that we understand a little more on the science behind family meetings and their positive impact on children's development, let's explore some practical agenda options that can make these meetings engaging and effective. By incorporating these agenda items, you can create a structured framework that promotes communication, problem-solving, and personal growth within your family.


Creating a Family Meeting Agenda

To ensure productive family meetings, it's important to have a well-structured agenda. Here's a breakdown of what you can include:


#1 - Topics of Discussion:

Dedicate time to address any concerns, new rules, or issues that arose during the previous week. This section promotes open communication and problem-solving within the family. For example, you could discuss strategies to manage sibling conflicts or establish rules for screen time usage.


#2 - Calendar:

Discuss upcoming events, holidays, extracurricular activities, and even date nights. This part of the agenda helps parents align their schedules and minimizes conflicts. Discussing upcoming events during family meetings creates a sense of predictability and routine for children who may struggle with transitions or uncertainty, providing them with a greater sense of security and stability.


#3 - Word of the Week:

Select a new word to learn and discuss its meaning as a family. Encourage your children to incorporate the word into their daily conversations, fostering their vocabulary and communication skills. You can even get creative with it and make a "Jar of Jargon" - put an item (pasta, pennies, paper clips) in the jar every time you hear a family member using the word correctly in a sentence and when the jar is full you can have a pizza or ice cream party! (Bonus points for taking turns picking the word, but also consider letting you child have say in choosing the incentive/reward)


#4 - Skill of the Week:

Assign each family member a skill they would like to work on. This could include anger management, active listening, maintaining a healthy lifestyle or skills like cooking a planned dinner or learning to do laundry. Once a skill has been selected, guide the family in creating a plan to work on it throughout the week. Discuss specific actions, resources, or strategies that can be implemented to develop and improve the chosen skill. Encourage family members to set individual goals and identify opportunities for support and accountability within the family. By focusing on personal growth, you create a supportive environment for everyone to develop essential life skills.


#4 - Something Nice:

Take turns expressing appreciation for one another. Encourage family members to share specific actions or qualities they admire, fostering a positive and loving atmosphere. This can feel a little forced at first, but it is because families aren't used to doing this regularly. In time, this will get much easier.


#4 - Fun Activity:

End the meeting with a game or engage in a fun activity together. This promotes bonding and strengthens the family unit. Whether its a Tic-Tac-Toe Tournament or a short game of Uno and Hangman, these kinds of experiences will be remembers much more than gifts purchased once your children are grown.


Additional Agenda Items

You can customize your family meeting agenda by including items below that best suit the unique needs and interests of your family.

Challenges and Solutions:
  • Address individual or family-related challenges and brainstorm solutions together. Always remember to allow your children to be heard and validate those feelings as a way to promote openness and communication during difficult conversations.

Concerns for Others in the Family:
  • Create space for family members to express their worries and provide support.

Meal Planning:
  • Involve everyone in deciding meals for the week, encouraging a sense of ownership and variety.

Open Discussion:
  • Allocate time for family members to share any thoughts or concerns they have on their minds.

Things to Celebrate/Things to Fix:
  • Acknowledge achievements or exciting events while also finding solutions for any problems that arose.

Discipline Tools and Strategies:
  • Introduce new expectations or discuss approaches to handle certain situations effectively. Be clear and concise and always allow your children to speak on behalf of these new expectations, but hold the line, be authoritative and reciprocal.

Conversation Starters:
  • Use fun questions to spark engaging discussions and gain insights into each other's perspectives.

Something Good and Something Bad:
  • Reflect on positive and negative experiences from the previous week, fostering gratitude and problem-solving skills.

Service or Acts of Kindness:
  • Encourage empathy and compassion by engaging in charitable acts or volunteering as a family.

Conclusion

Implementing regular family meetings can transform your household into a nurturing environment where children learn valuable life skills, feel empowered, and develop strong relationships. By following a structured agenda and involving every family member, you create opportunities for growth, communication, and fun. Remember, these meetings not only benefit your children but also foster a positive and harmonious family dynamic. Start implementing family meetings today and witness the positive impact they have on your household.

Additional Reading:



4 Powerful Benefits of a Successful Family Meeting

Are you interested in trying to host a regularly scheduled family meeting?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Yes, but not sure where to start


If you're seeking support with parenting or organizing family meetings, please don't hesitate to reach out. I am here to offer assistance, guidance, coaching, and additional resources to help you create a supportive and proactive household environment for your family. Together, we can navigate the challenges and joys of parenting and promote a positive family dynamic.



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