I grew up in a blended family of six. With everyone on different schedules and in different activities throughout the week, my parents opened up lines of communication between us all through weekly family meetings. This was a time each week where we gathered together as a family and my parents shared what would be happening throughout the week, dole out chores, and address any conflicts or issues within our family together. As a child, I remember feeling like I was heard, important, and had some input in what was going on in our daily lives.
Now that I’m raising my own blended family, I’ve implemented my own family meetings to give my children the feeling that they’re part of a team and that we’re all doing this life thing together. Being in a blended family isn’t a prerequisite to holding weekly family meetings; in fact, I believe all families benefit from meeting together weekly to talk, hash out anything going on, and schedule out the upcoming week.
In this post, I’m going to share a few tips to help start weekly family meetings in your own family, along with some topics to address in your first meeting together in hopes it will inspire you to start your own weekly huddle with your family.
Set a day for the meetings
My husband works rotating shifts, so we have to adjust our family meetings accordingly. Currently we meet every Sunday after church. I schedule out the time in our family calendar and we ensure that we have a solid hour to devote to the meeting.
Create a list of topics to address
While children don’t need to be involved in every decision (especially smaller children), I think it’s important that they feel included in some family choice making. For instance, I take dinner requests into account from my two six year olds. And from the older girls, when they’re with us, they get to help with larger decisions like doling out chores. And we also use the time to address anything major happening in our lives. For instance, a few years back Jacob was injured at work and we needed to adjust schedules to get him to and from the doctor. I spent a few minutes each week on the day before our meeting making a list of topics to address as a family.
Consider a talking stick
Family meetings are a safe place where everyone gets a chance to be heard, but if you’re in a big family like mine that can be pretty noisy. Using a talking stick or ball or toy is a fun tool that allows whomever is holding it to have the floor. If the person holding the talking stick is speaking, everyone else gives that person their undivided attention. This is especially helpful with my small children.
If you’re considering holding your own family meetings, there are some topics that would be helpful for you to address during your first gathering. It will help set the foundation for your future meetings and for your family as a whole. These are some topics we discussed before our first family meeting and during the first session together.
Everyone does their part in our home. From the three-year-old who helps with laundry transfer to the twelve-year-old who sweeps and mops the kitchen. We all do our part to make our home a clean and happy environment. Consider writing a list of chores that need to be done weekly or daily and then during the family meeting, assign (or let the kiddos volunteer) one to each person.
Supplemental insurance is designed to complement our major medical insurance and fill any holes our health care may not cover. Most of us aren’t prepared to pay for deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses associated with an unexpected serious accident or illness. Instead of paying for those expenses out of our own pockets, we can use supplemental insurance to help fill in the holes. Supplemental insurance from Aflac pays cash when we’re sick or hurt so we can focus on recovery, not financial stress. When my husband was injured at work those years ago, we were fortunate that he was only out for a couple of days. Had he been hurt any worse or out of work for any longer, we would have been in a pretty bad situation. Aflac is designed to help with situations like ours, because while major medical policies pay doctors and hospitals, Aflac pays cash directly to the insured (unless otherwise assigned), who can decide how to best use the benefits. Their goal is to help Aflac policyholders maintain their lifestyle during recovery. While this was a subject my husband and I discussed together outside of family meetings, we wanted to share the information with our children so that they knew our family was looking into ways to cover ourselves financially in any future events. We’re also hoping involving them in this discussion will show them the importance of supplemental insurance for their own families.
A living will
Creating a living will together and then addressing it with our children during a family meeting was important to us. Because our family is blended, that means there could be separation of siblings, so we need to be detailed and specific in our documents in case anything should happen to one or both of us.
Ask your human resources manager which Aflac supplemental insurance policies are available to you. Be sure to also check out Aflac’s Benefits Estimator to calculate the amount Aflac can provide to help with out-of-pocket costs not covered by your major medical insurance: aflac.com/benefitsestimator.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Policies may not be available in all states. Limitations and exclusions may apply. Benefits are determined by state and plan level selected. Coverage is underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus. In New York, coverage is underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of New York. WWHQ | 1932 Wynnton Road | Columbus, GA 31999.