My good friend used to call it “circling the wagons.” She used it for times when it felt like her family was moving in too many different directions, and no one was in sync.
I didn’t really grasp what she meant when she first used the term–my kids were so small at the time, they had no choice but to move in the direction I put them in. But now that my kids are teen, pre-teens, and preschoolers, we are all moving at a crazy busy pace.
And yes, we need to stop and circle the wagons at this stage.
A team meeting, family meeting, come-to-Jesus meeting–all the same thing and so incredibly powerful when we do it the right way.
I wanted to share here the huge benefits we’ve seen in our family from doing a full stop, gathering everyone around the table, and calling a family meeting.
When you know it’s time to call a family meeting
I’m just going to be real honest with you all…I am feeling very harried in this stage of my parenting life, and I haven’t been able to adjust to my family’s needs and demands as rapidly as they’re changing.
My preschooler needs me in entirely different ways than my teenager does, plus there are two more kids with various needs in between those two–so I constantly feel like I’m flip-flopping emotions and spinning so many plates.
Maybe you feel the same?
Our family has to function as a full-on unit–or we don’t function very well at all.
When I start getting really edgy with everyone or the piles of clutter start piling up or if everyone seems to be extra crabby or when our calendar is getting out of control–THIS is how I know it’s time for a family meeting.
The right (and wrong) way to hold a family meeting
“NOBODY has been doing what they’re supposed to around here, so get it together people!!!” is not a good way to start out a family meeting.
It’s a meeting, not boot camp, Alicia.
Trying to make our family meeting a group effort rather than a tongue lashing for forgotten chores is a much better approach.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Making a family meeting a group effort rather than a tongue lashing is a much better approach.” quote=”Making a family meeting a group effort rather than a tongue lashing is a much better approach.”]
I gather everyone around–usually after dinner or before bed–and lay out my heart.
I try to start out by just talking about what’s been happening in each others’ lives–catch up, be interested, be excited for each other, or help sort out a problem someone is having.
These are my people, leaning into them is how I can teach them that we are each others’ most important.
It shows them what being a critical part of a team means – we all need each other. It demonstrates that not just me or not just my husband keep things up and running; we all do and we’re all irreplaceable.
We will discuss the current goings-on, how we can make our schedule run smoother, what we can omit for now. I get really honest about how trying to balance all the things has weighed on me lately. They know what they can each do to lighten the load after we talk about it.
I will almost always use this opportunity to remind the kids of their chores and what is expected of them. It’s an excellent refresher for everybody.
My favorite part of our family meeting is that we almost always end with a fresh plan of how to make everything just a little bit better and everyone is on board.
The benefits of circling the wagons
There are so many benefits to taking a time-out with your family.
- We leave refreshed.
- We have a plan.
- We’ve connected, and we know what’s on each others’ hearts.
- We have things to look forward to.
- We feel united together.
Having a regular family meeting has had tremendous benefits for our family. We feel more connected and things seem to run so much smoother afterward.
Do you have regular family meetings? What benefits have you seen or what tips would you add?