My husband and I met almost 20 years ago at Bentley University, a college that focuses primarily on the ins and outs of business. It is no wonder we find ourselves applying a piece of what we learned there to our home life all these years later. Having a weekly family meeting, agenda, and all, has become a really important part of the flow here in our home.
How It All Started
A few years ago, we noticed how complicated life had become with the addition of kids. Random to-do lists here and calendars there just weren’t cutting it. So, we decided to have dedicated time for more purposeful planning. Also, we needed a singular running document that we could both check at any time to keep ourselves on track.
Enter our weekly family meeting and our trusty Google Doc agenda!
How It Works
On Sunday evenings, we sit down together on the couch, dogs by our side, laptops opened to our shared document, and snacks in hand (snacks make everything better). Together, we review the minutiae of the week ahead, but we also tackle some bigger topics like family finances, personal challenges, and annual goals.
The Predictable Items
First up, we talk about meals for the week (tacos will 100% be on that list every week). We go over the kids’ school and activities schedules – are there any early dismissal days, or sports games at different fields than usual? We also highlight important meetings during the week. My husband works from home, so I find it really helpful to know when the kids and I should NOT have a crazy, wild dance party downstairs! Next, we review projects to complete around the house (fresh coat of paint in a half bathroom, getting the veggie garden ready for the season, staining the deck).
Next up is a quick review of family finances. We first talk about small things like recent spending and any out-of-the-ordinary expenses on the horizon (car repair, flights for a trip). Also, we address bigger things we want to save for down the line (new cars, braces for the kids, college).
We create annual and seasonal goals for ourselves and our family so we have them written down and we can be mindful of our progress. Focusing on a better exercise routine, finding more ways to be engaged in our community, or making more time for reading. These types of hopes will just stay just that – hopes, without a bit of focus and a little accountability from each other.
The Deeper Things
At the start of our first-ever family meeting, we spent time brainstorming which values we wanted front and center in our home. What do we want our kids to have within their hearts when they leave home for adulthood? Revisiting this list each week ensures that we still agree that those values are truly what we want to instill in ourselves and our kids. It also gives us great accountability to see if we are embodying those values each day.
We highlight struggles with work, kids, and yes, even each other! We also take time to celebrate the wins (like a successful transition back to school after a vacation week or a long streak of our toddler making it to the potty in time).
Next, we look ahead at the calendar to see if we have any family traditions coming up. Our favorites are the smallest, simplest ones. Eating maple syrup poured on snow in the winter. Pancakes in the shape of your new age on birthdays. Taking a sibling picture on the stairs before we leave for a vacation. Completing a Grateful Turkey each November (thanks to the genius @busytoddler).
A Few Notes
Do we ever skip a meeting because we are parents and we are just too dang tired? Yes, of course! Have we ever tried to just phone it in and force our way through? Also, yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely, not. Our family meetings require just a little bit of time, but more importantly, focus. If we aren’t in the right headspace, we skip the meeting. The week is usually a little rockier than it should be, but we know we can pick right back up where we left off just 7 days later.
How do you keep your family organized and moving forward each week? Do you have weekly family meetings? If not, is this something you think you will start?