The hustle and bustle of our everyday lives can often lead to us feeling disconnected from the people we care about the most, even the ones we see everyday. If you’re looking to reconnect with your loved ones we have just the tool for you! Family meetings can be a great positive parenting tool, when used in the right way. They can teach your child important skills such as listening, conflict resolution and empathy.
They are a great way to foster open communication, arrive at collective decisions and deepen your relationship with your children. They can also allow you to address underlying issues and understand your children’s needs and perspectives better.
Holding fruitful and successful family meetings can seem a little daunting, but don’t worry, we’ve got you!
Here’s how you can use family meetings to inculcate Social Emotional Skills in your children:
Organisational and Time Management Skills: Plan ahead! Set aside a specific date and time that works with everyone’s schedules so that no one feels forced to attend. Make sure you hold family meetings at regular intervals, based on your family’s needs. (For instance, once a week, or twice a month). Remember to be flexible, discuss the time for the meeting beforehand and take your children’s time constraints into account when scheduling a meeting. This will help them feel like their opinion and time matters as well. This will also teach them to manage their time, respect other people’s time and plan.
Open Mindedness and Collaboration: Set an agenda! It helps to have a preset structure and list of topics you want to address for each meeting, to ensure that it is most effective and everyone is heard. You can set aside 10 minutes at the end of each meeting to decide what you will discuss next time.
Relationship & Communication Skills: Be open-minded! Remember that the goal of a family meeting is to foster understanding and open communication. Create a safe space for your children to express themselves by approaching each meeting with consideration, love and compassion. Avoid accusatory phrases such as ‘you always’ or ‘you never’, and focus instead on talking about how the issue you are addressing makes you feel. For example, ‘I feel overwhelmed and stressed out when you don’t do the chores we had agreed on. Let’s talk about why you weren’t able to get them done’. Teach your children to express their opinions in a constructive rather than accusatory way, by encouraging them to introspect about why a certain event upsets them.
Building Memories and Bonds: Make it fun! Family meetings are not just for assigning tasks or addressing concerns. They are a space for you to connect and bond with each other. Make them interactive and interesting by having game nights or fun activities that you can do together! You can even introduce fun concepts such as ‘the talking stick’ or ‘meeting captain’ to make your interactions more interesting.
Inculcating Responsibility:Your children will be more receptive of family meetings if they feel like their opinions and thoughts matter. Collective Decisions help children take ownership for tasks or chores they need to do as they feel involved. Assign responsibility! You can help boost their engagement by assigning them tasks such as bringing snacks, leading the meetings or planning game nights.
Did you find these suggestions helpful? Tell us the story of your family meetings on social media, and tag us!
At SpringUP, we help children build foundational skills in Social Emotional Learning(SEL) skills through our experiential learning programs. We use various mediums like conversations, narrations, art, music & movement in our curriculum.