Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Family Meeting; An Essential Component

Last month, I described a method of keeping track of your family's appointments with color coding calendars and a weekly organizer in my tip It's Back to School Time Again.

This month, I want to share that no matter what calendar you decide to keep; the Family Meeting is an essential piece of the organizational package. Without open, ongoing and regular communication the best laid plans can easily fall apart.

The family meeting is described here, but it just as well pertains to couples and even to individuals planning their weeks.

One family member reminds anyone who keeps a personal planner accurately enters their upcoming appointments onto the main calendar. (It's usually me, and I usually have to make sure my personal planner is "synced" to this calendar and vise versa.)

If a weekly dry erase calendar is used, on Sunday afternoon, one person copies all upcoming appointments from the main calendar onto the weekly calendar.

Sunday evening gather the family around that table at a set, weekly time. Each member should bring their personal planner/agenda to the meeting. (It may be helpful to have a special folder labeled Family Meeting, to keep any notes that you want to remember to discuss).

The meeting agenda follows a format that my husband & I learned in a couples communication course called PAIRS and includes the following items:

  • sharing appreciations and gratitude for things family members did in the last week
  • a review of the upcoming week's schedule (at the beginning of the month, briefly review the upcoming month, too).
  • any new information that people need to share
  • any concerns/questions that people have for the week or just in general
  • any wishes or hopes that the members have for the future
  • dessert and/or allowance given
This process will likely take about 20-30 minutes of time each week, and for those with kids, they may express some griping at first, but hopefully, with time, practice and that reward at the end, they will come to find it is a useful way of keeping the whole family "in the know".

I would love to hear feedback from you if you are implementing these suggestions in your family. Please return with comments anytime.

If you need help with this or any other organizing task, Simply Call Linda!

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