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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 is often comforted by routine and consistency. 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.
We do these meetings on a Sunday night over dinner. But it really doesn't matter when as long as it works for your family.
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. Address a predictable problem. Ask the family to collaborate with you to solve a predictable problem. Rotate through the family so that each week one person gets to raise a problem. We only do one problem as we want these meetings to be short - but you do what works for your family. Once the problem has been explained by the weeks chosen family member. We work together to 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 quickly go through the family meal plan for the week.
6. Shopping list. Any requests are submitted to the family shopping list. Parents approve or deny requests.
7. The week ahead. We have it drawn it up on a whiteboard - my ADHDers need this, in fact we all do! We quickly go through what each family member is doing each day of the week (outside of work). 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.
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 look forward to and I love that it gives everyone a voice. It takes about 20 mins for us over dinner.
Try it and let me know how you go.
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