Recalibrate your home life and family culture with this family meeting swipe file. Helpful tools to get family members on the same page in order to live with intention.
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A few months ago, I found myself in a rut after coming off two rounds of the flu (yup, we had it twice!), trying to catch up on all the missed work and housework while finishing the school year and getting ready for Summer. I knew if I didn’t have a strategy, our crazy Winter would turn into a lazy Summer and we’d be a hot mess before school started again. I shared with my husband that I needed a plan to get our family back on track. We talked about it a few times and then I sat down with a notebook and began to think about how to recalibrate our home and family life.
To my surprise, I felt led to start by writing down all the bad habits that had formed. I wrote a list of all the ways we needed to focus on training our children now that they were older (9 and 6). From there I determined that I needed to put everything in writing because 1 – visuals are powerful reminders for kids and parents and 2 – preparing kids with expectations is step one in teaching and training.
After identifying the areas where we needed the most help, I set out to create a set of documents in preparation for a family meeting. I scheduled and announced our meeting (to give myself a deadline) then worked diligently on our family meeting file with my husband’s help. I created drafts then we went over them together until we landed on the final version of our family documents:
Family Rules – to remind us of the culture we want to create and the values we hold dear.
If/Then Chart – so the kids know exactly what will happen when they don’t follow directions or do what is expected. One of the greatest challenges for moms is knowing what consequences to give in each situation. And let’s be honest, in the moment, it’s often hard to think straight. There’s still some nuance to discipline, even with a clearly laid out chart. Not all “offenses” fit into these molds. That’s when we have to rely on Holy Spirit leading in our parenting.
Daily Menus – because I recognized one of my biggest hot buttons (especially in the Summer) is when the kids ask for food all day long!
Chore Chart – we’ve loosely done chores in our house but now that the kids are older, it’s time to implement a plan and clearly defined responsibilities. Our chart starts off with “responsibilities of living in this house and being alive” because we believe some chores are just part of contributing to the household (and the world) and others earn you money. This way, the kids know it’s not all about getting allowance but about being a servant-hearted part of this family.
Tech Guidelines – because it’s summer right now and I work from home so I knew we’d need clear boundaries on screen time. Note: I’ve not been one to do official “screen time” limitations or rules because my kids have never been glued to devices. But they are getting older and it’s helpful to keep it in check. This will vary greatly depending on your own family culture and that’s absolutely okay!
I’m happy to report our family meeting, documents and new “command center” have helped keep our home life peaceful and on track this Summer. No, it’s not perfect, but I feel like I’m steering this crazy train more so now than ever!
Plan Your Own Family Meeting
- Choose a meeting time that works in everyone’s schedule. Try to do it on a day that isn’t jam packed with other things. Weekends tend to work well for family meetings. A Friday evening or Sunday after church. Do it when every family member can be present and focused. Set your family meeting time a week or so out to give yourself a deadline for prep.
- Sit down with a journal/notebook when you have at least 30 minutes by yourself. Write down all the ways your family needs to recalibrate. Write down the bad habits that need fixing. Pray as you write and then pray over your list. Talk with your spouse or a trusted friend/family member about your list.
- Create your own family meeting documents. Use some or all of the documents I’ve provided in the swipe file below. Create drafts then pray and edit, pray and edit until you (and your spouse/support system) agree on the result.
- Share the plan at your family meeting. Communicate to your children that your goal is to live with intention and eliminate stresses that rob your family joy. Share that by working together to follow this strategy, you’ll experience more peace and fun in your home!
- Display your documents. Choose a location that is central for your family. Hang the documents and refer to them regularly.
- Get help/accountability. Share your strategy with a friend or family member. Ask her to check in with you regularly on how it’s going. Don’t feel guilty if you report back that something isn’t working. Recalibration is ongoing. There is nothing wrong with making adjustments as you go.
Consider laminating your documents so the kids can mark off their daily menu and chore chart with a dry erase marker. Hang them in a clearly defined space in your kitchen or another central location where everyone can see and refer to them. Punch holes in the top of each laminated document and use Command Hooks to hang them. Done and done!
Access My Family Meeting Swipe File
What is a swipe file? A swipe file is a term that comes from the advertising industry. It’s a collection of tested copy that is often saved as a template for future use. My files are not the be all, end all of family meeting planning, but they can definitely get you started on your own journey to create something that works for your family.
Wolstenholm Family Meeting Documents – check out our family meeting documents including the adorable headers I made using PicMonkey. You can create your own family headers there and insert them into the editable documents (access below) by clicking “insert” in the top Google Docs menu then choosing “image” and uploading your header picture.
Family Meeting Swipe File (editable format) – use these files to insert your own family header plus edit the copy to fit your own family culture, values and needs. Just click on each document and under “file” choose “make a copy” then save it with your own title. This “swipe file” includes the details of our family documents as a starting point for your own. But you don’t have to follow these “rules” and guidelines. I pray you’ll feel the freedom to create family meeting documents that reflect your unique home.
A family meeting is something we can do on a regular basis to intentionally connect and recalibrate. It’s a simple, family culture forming tradition that will set the tone for each new season or when change is coming.
Instead of aiming for perfection in our home and family life, we can aim for intention. With a little planning (and a lot of prayer for God-led strategy) we can teach and train our children while peacefully growing together as a family.
Do you hold regular family meetings? What has worked for you in getting your family on the same page in different seasons?
Graphic created via PicMonkey.com