I like to think that I always have things in order and under control in the household, but I know I don’t. It’s difficult to have things run perfectly smooth every single day. When you’re a parent, particularly a parent of two active rough-housing boys, it’s near impossible, especially when you’re a homeschooling parent of said boys. But whether you homeschool or not doesn’t matter.
We all know life gets hectic as parents, running back and forth to pick the kids up and drop them off, sports, making dinner, doing laundry, homework, or even catching up on our own hobbies. We do a lot each day and we’re spending time with our children, but do you ever feel like something is missing?
I’ve always been an observer and I started to notice that although we “talked” as a family, we weren’t really “communicating” as a family, particularly during the week. My husband gets home kind of late, right at dinner time each night. Then our entire dinner usually consists of us asking at least one of the kids to sit down at the table throughout the course of the meal or making sure they eat their vegetables. There’s really not a whole lot of time for family discussion or “How was your day?” conversation. When we’re finally done dinner, we have to clean up and by that time, bath time and bedtime routines ensue. After that we’re exhausted, too exhausted to talk.
In the midst of all of the chaos and what appears to be not enough hours in the day, I started realizing that…
My husband and I didn’t get much time to talk about our day…
Although as a homeschooler I spend a lot of time with my children, I never really think to ask what their favorite part of the week was…
If there are things I’d like to share with the family but don’t have enough time throughout the day or forget by the time we’re all together, then I bet they have things they’d like to share as well.
I realized I wanted to communicate more as a family.
We needed to spend time focusing more on each other as a whole, to give each other a platform to talk about anything we’ve been thinking about, worrying about or excited about throughout the week.
I decided I wanted to schedule regular family meetings.
When I was a kid, I remember thinking family meetings were only called when there was problem. On television shows the family would sit down together to discuss an issue or what needs to change. It seemed business-like. But this isn’t what I had in mind. I wanted to use our time to talk about anything we felt was important in a relaxed manner:
These are just some examples of questions I came up with to incorporate into our meetings. Each week can differ depending on what has transpired. Having an agenda is important. I like to keep a list of things that occur during the week that I’d like to talk about.
I do love asking the kids what the highlight of their week was. It’s fun to hear their responses. Although as moms we know our kids inside and out, we can learn so much more about them by asking them these questions regularly. I also believe holding regular family meetings gives kids the opportunity to open up and communicate if anything is bothering them at school, such as bullying.
Aside from the benefit of family bonding, family meetings also teach kids skills such as listening, respect, problem-solving, communication and appreciation for each other. They also create a tradition for your family.
We have our meetings on Friday nights after dinner. They’re super casual. I’m thinking of making Fridays a special dessert night. Maybe we could make our own pudding and enjoy it during the meeting.
The end goal is to learn about each other’s weeks, the positive events, and anything that needs some work or extra attention whether inside the home or otherwise. (These meetings have also decreased the arguing between my boys as well.)
Make the meetings your own. You can add a fun activity such as a game or making popcorn together for the meeting. You can also end it with discussing what activities you’d like to do as a family over the weekend. Keep them light, fun, age-appropriate, and as short as you possibly can, while resolving more serious issues if necessary.
Here are some more tips and ideas from Aha! Parenting on how to conduct a fun-but-successful meeting 🙂