This month I’ll be breaking down often neglected back-to-school topics to start your school year off on the right foot and keep you organized throughout the school year.
This week: Family Meetings
I know, it sounds ominous, but having a weekly family meeting is a great way to keep schedules organized. When you’re coordinating your own schedule, your spouse’s schedule, and your kids’ schedules family meetings are essential to creating calm instead of chaos.
Family meetings don’t have to be any kind of formal or intimidating. Look at it as a time to connect and discover what's going on in the lives of those you care about most.
We are not perfect at holding family meetings, but I know our week goes more smoothly when we take the time to discuss each other’s plans and expectations. The older my kids get the more important it’s become to make family meetings a priority. If you’re looking for a way to better manage your time and, your family’s schedules this coming school year, here are a few ideas to help you begin holding family meetings.
Hold Your Meetings on the Same Day Each Week
Plan a meeting time when you know everyone will be home. It might be Sunday dinners for us, but maybe Saturday or Sunday morning works better for you. Take into account all your family members schedules and plan a time when everyone can participate. When you keep it at the same time every week it will be easier to remember and follow through.
Don't Forget Your Calendar
You have to bring your calendar. Everyone needs to bring their calendars. Write down everything: Doctor’s appointments, ballet class, track meets. If schedule timing overlaps you’ll be able to see it easily and make the necessary arrangements. Note the arrangements made, too (e.g. Preston: track practice, ride with Ryan). I like to write everything on paper (I’m a kinesthetic learner) and then transfer it to my phone. There are super cute printable weekly calendars on line. Here’s a cute one…
And here’s another…
Our family uses Google Calendar on all phones. If you don’t have it yet: Get it! Utilizing your calendar on your smart phone is the single best time-management tip I can give you. My guess is you rarely walk out of your house without your phone in your pocket or purse. Which means: if you use your calendar app, you can check your schedule at a moment’s notice. You can also invite other family members to the calendar events you create so everyone can have the family schedule on their phone. It makes scheduling so easy you’ll wonder what you ever did without it. You can download it from the app store or here.
Unless every member of you family has an eidetic memory, this tip is a must! Your brain deserves a break; keep your events on a calendar.
Meet With Your Partner Before Inviting Kids
Before dragging inviting the kids to the meeting take a minute to touch base with your partner. Just a few minutes to discuss any serious events or things the kids aren’t supposed to know about.
Keep It Fun
Family meetings aren’t just for batting scheduling conflicts. Sitting down together as a family gives you the opportunity to talk about your week, your worries, your dreams, and allows you to connect with your kids. Plan fun activities or talk about the upcoming family vacation. Joke and laugh and encourage each other. Also, if your kids are like my kids there should probably be some ice cream or dessert involved.
Click back next week for some tips on creating a homework station even if you don't think you have the space!