It was a typical Monday; I was running from school to soccer practice and home again with very little time in between to connect with my kids. I found myself running from problem to problem. You know the scenario, your kids are at the door, something happens and there is no time to solve the problem and address the situation because you are late. This is how we found ourselves week after week and we needed a change.

I wanted to empower my children to become more confident and responsible for their actions and part of the problem solving process. The family meeting was started to equip my children with the tools needed to solve their future problems on their own.

Like most families, time is in short supply. I needed a way to connect with my kids and give them a voice in the family. With homework and sports practice, dinner seems to be the only time we were all together as a family. We start the family meeting after dinner once a week to discuss topics of the kids and our choosing.

I put a binder together with a family meeting sheet (download below) for each week in a place the kids have access to. We encourage them to write down items that they want to discuss. The impact of writing things down helps our kids know that an issue is not forgotten and will be solved at the meeting. This helps diffuse many tense situations that usually ended in fighting or yelling.

Family meeting tips

  1. Keep it positive – It is important to make this event something to look forward to so keeping it positive helps everyone stay engaged
  2. Set a schedule – pick a day that works for your family and stick to it. Expectations are everything and everyone will be more open to it when they expect it.
  3. Set clear rules
  4. One person talks at a time
  5. No complaining – focus on positive actions that can be taken
  6. Everyone gets a turn – tell the family how you feel
  7. Compromise and once an agreement has been struck write it down
  8. Keep it short – If the meeting runs too long everyone will lose interest
  9. Make it fun – change it up from time to time. Take a trip and discuss your family meeting over ice cream or while on a walk.

Download a free copy of our weekly discussion sheet below. I print a stack of these and keep them in a binder for the family to write in and to reference when agreements are forgotten.