What Is The Importance Of Family Meetings? | Navigating Holiday ChaosDec 13, 2023
The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness. However, it can also be a time of chaos and stress, with schedules packed full of events, expectations, and family dynamics coming into play. Amidst the hustle and bustle, it's important to find moments of calm and connection. One powerful tool for fostering communication and harmony within the family is the family meeting. In this post, we will explore the benefits of holding family meetings, particularly during the holiday season, and provide you with practical tips on how to run an effective family meeting. I’ll show you how the 5 C’s can be used to create a space for open dialogue and problem solving within your family (click here to learn more about the 5 C’s to amazing parenting).
First, why would you need to hold a family meeting during the holiday season? All sorts of reasons. Perhaps you need more family help with preparing gifts or decorating the house and the kiddos haven’t exactly been jumping to your aid. Or perhaps you’re planning ahead to help get everyone in the right mindset for attending holiday events. Or maybe you want to proactively talk about some things that didn’t go ideally last holiday season and talk through steps to improve the situation this year. That happened to us one year where we felt like our four kids were fighting over who got to use the two amazing new toys on Christmas rather than taking turns and being grateful for receiving two amazing gifts. Whatever the reason, you’ll find five important tips for getting the most out of your holiday family meeting below.
Communication: Effective Communication Skills
Communication is the foundation of any successful family meeting. Encourage each family member to express their thoughts and feelings openly and respectfully. Use active listening techniques, such as maintaining eye contact, nodding to show understanding, and summarizing what was said. Validate feelings and encourage family members to provide concrete suggestions. By practicing effective communication skills, you create an environment of trust and understanding.
Consistency: Regular Family Meetings
This may be your first ever family meeting, or perhaps they’re a regular part of your family routine. Consistency is key when it comes to family meetings. By holding them fairly regularly, you establish a routine and help children understand the process. Consider scheduling family meetings around major annual transitions, such as the start of the new year, the beginning of summer vacation, and when returning to school in the fall. Additionally, hold family meetings throughout the year as needed when specific topics arise, such as needing to discuss a change to the Family Screen Time Schedule or seeking input on a decision you’re contemplating. This consistency helps children feel secure and provides a structured space for open communication. They learn that family meetings are a normal part of your communication and problem-solving process.
Choices & Checkpoints: Consider Your Child's Age
When presenting choices or seeking feedback during family meetings, consider your child's age. Younger children may benefit from having a choice between two options, allowing them to feel involved in decision-making. Older children can be encouraged to provide open-ended feedback and make suggestions. Tailoring the meeting format to your child's age helps them feel heard and respected.
- Consequences: Maintain Your Role as the Loving Authority Figure
While involving children in family discussions is important, it's equally important to maintain your role as the loving authority figure. Ultimately, you are responsible for making decisions that are in the best interest of the family. Communicate this to your children, emphasizing that their input is valued, but the final decision rests with you. This helps children understand boundaries and respect your role as a parent.
- Check Yourself: Stay Calm and Collected
Family meetings can sometimes bring up challenging or emotional topics. It's crucial for parents to stay calm and collected during these discussions. Model effective emotional regulation and problem-solving skills for your children. Use the opportunity to teach them how to navigate difficult conversations with respect and empathy.
Family meetings provide a valuable opportunity to teach children important social skills, while addressing various family issues. By utilizing effective communication skills, considering your child's age, maintaining your role as the loving authority figure, and staying calm and collected, you can consistently run effective family meetings that foster open dialogue, understanding, and unity within your family. Embrace the power of family meetings and watch as they strengthen your family bonds and create a sense of togetherness that will carry you through the holiday season and beyond. What holiday topics are causing you stress this week? Screen time-related decisions to help you juggle extra To Do items? Discussing gratitude and giving with your kids? Or perhaps planning ahead for a fun holiday trip. There are many topics that warrant a family meeting this time of year. Use these tips to have a successful family meeting this week to help your holiday season run more smoothly!
These family meeting tips touch on each of the five categories in my 5 C’s parenting framework (click here to learn more about the 5 C’s). To view more posts in this category, use the category search menu on the right of your screen. Keep up the good work on your amazing parenting journey!
P.S. Be sure to download my freebie called 5 Tips to Thrive as a Family at the Holidays! for some actionable strategies to help make this holiday season a success!