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It is time to bring back the family meeting!
We are a family, but it doesn't always feel that way. Sometimes it feels like we are all running our own race with the intensity of life. The family meeting brings us back together so we feel connected and know what is going on with each others lives.
The ADHD brain is often an anxious brain. They are worried about what is coming next. Their brain likes routine, structure and security. Having a family meeting shows each family member what is coming up. It also has the added advantage of sharing the family workload.
I use our family meetings as a time to reflect on positive things and collaboratively problem solve as a family. A family is a team and this practice reinforces that.
So here is my family meeting template:
1. Call 'family meeting is now in session'.
2. Best part of the week. Each person goes round the table and says their highlight of the week. Bringing attention to the positive.
3. Issues or concerns. Each person is given the opportunity to raise any issues or concerns they have. We come up with solutions or plans to address concerns collaboratively as a family. Be real with your kids about your struggles, sometimes the solutions they come up with are truly inspired. We are teaching problem solving here. We also want our children to be able to talk to us about anything that is worrying them.
4. Gratitude. Each person goes around the table and says thank you to every family member for something they did during the week. If you know you are going to have to do this every week, you will start looking for things to be grateful for and believe me you will find it. It is a change in mindset and makes each family member feel valued.
5. Meal plan. We go through the family meal plan for the week. My 11 year old now cooks one night per week so we pick which meal he will prepare.
6. Shopping list. Any requests are submitted to the family shopping list. Parents approve or deny requests.
7. The week ahead. We draw it up on a whiteboard and put it on the wall - my ADHDers need this, in fact we all do! We go through what each family member is doing each day of the week. This is the time to discuss who is picking up who etc. Remember to request any school notes or invitations so they are actioned or added to the diary for the future.
8. Budget. Here we discuss any expenses we have coming up or things that we are saving for. The children receive their pocket money for any extra tasks completed.
9. Ask is there anything else anyone would like to say?
10. Conclude meeting.
This simple process has so many benefits. It is something that my children crave and I love that it gives everyone a voice.
Try it and let me know how you go.
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