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My Family Meeting Before School Starts

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Early Morning Family Meetings

Happy back to school, everyone! Where did summer of 2008 go ,anyway? What a blur. I am back at work now, speaking at 10 a.m. tomorrow at The Babes and Tots on the Go Show. If you can catch me there, come say hello!

We just finished having a family meeting. Zoe, my eldest, is off to high school tomorrow for the first time, and Lucy starts grade eight.

At our family meeting, we talked about what time they had to be out the door for school this year. Taking the bus is new for Zoe, and Lucy’s school changed their start time to 8:25 a.m. I asked the question, “How much sleep do you want to get?” They both wanted to aim for 8 hours. So, we did a rough work-back schedule and it seems they both want to try for going to bed at 11 p.m. on school nights–but realistically, they thought that meant aiming for 10 p.m., since they both like about an hour in their rooms at the end of the night before lights out. They’ll try that plan for this week and then we’ll follow up on how it’s going at next week’s meeting. How nice that I don’t have to bicker about getting out the door or supervise bedtimes! Next we we can talk about how it all worked out and discuss any modifications or improvements they might want to tweak.

Zoe also asked me about helping her study this year, since she noticed she did better on tests if I helped quiz her the night before. I said I’d love to do that if she would please let me know in advance so I can plan my time, too.

The last two items on the agenda: house keys and lunches. We checked in to make sure that everyone had a house key and to let them write anything they wanted for their lunches on the grocery list on the fridge. Zoe is seeing more reasons why she might want to investigate getting a part-time job. Cafeteria food costs money, and I did say I was not willing to pay for eating at school. If she wants to use her allowance, that is fine, but we are not increasing her allowance for that purpose.

That was enough for one quick meeting–about 15 minutes. How was yours? What did you talk about? Share in the comment space below.

About Alyson

Alyson has been blogging parenting advice for over 15 years. She has been a panelist at BlogWest, Blissdom, #140NYC and more. Her content appears on sites across Canada and the US, but you can read all her own blog posts right here.

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6 Responses to “My Family Meeting Before School Starts”

  1. Katie

    Hey Alyson!
    Thought I’d share about our back to school family meeting …hadn’t had one for a long time, it was a really nice way to reconnect again in that way.
    There’s four kids in our family who are in grades 7,6,1 and a toddler. We just decided we didn’t need a nanny anymore recently, so we had lots to talk about!
    We talked about housework of course as we haven’t had to do too much for awhile, and everyone agreed that we didn’t want to spend money on a cleaner as we’re trying to save up for Disney. So I volunteered to do the housework for the next 2 weeks until the kids go used to their new school routine, and we would talk about dividing up chores at the next meeting.
    We also talked about morning, bed time routines, who will be making the lunches (the kids), and someone suggested and did type up a lunch menu for every day of the week so I would know what to buy ahead of time.
    I asked if anyone would be willing to bring their younger sister to/from school as I needed to go to work in the morning, and in the afternoon, the toddler naps.We talked about house keys and where they would keep them.
    We also quickly went over our extra curricular activity schedule and revised it a bit….
    Lastly, we talked about the guinea pigs, sigh…that’s another post!
    I’m with you Alyson about keeping it nice and short, it prob lasted 20 mins….

  2. Tanya Willis

    My two boys are 7 and 8 and I’ve been wanting to start having family meetings – any suggestions about where to start? We informally discuss many things such as morning/bedtime routine and a few chores, tv/computer time, but I feel like I need to formalize it so that I stop repeating myself about keeping them on track and better yet, keeping it consistent with what the expectations are? Loved your book, “Breaking the Good Mum Myth” and should probably give it another read as well as your other one!

  3. Alyson Schafer

    HI Tanya,
    Thanks for the question. I have an entire chapter dedicated to how to run family meetings in my last book “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids”.
    Its available at Chapter / Indigo / Barnes and Noble any of the big chains. It should be of great help.

  4. Lori

    I’ve read Honey, I Wrecked the Kids, and have started using some of the great ideas. At least as much as I can remember, before reading it again. We’re having our first family meeting tonight. I’m concerned, though, that my daugther (turning 4 in November) may feel ganged up on, as she’s an only child. I can see how getting a concensus is great when you’ve got a larger family and, logically, I undersand it can work with a family of three. But obviously, we’re going to run into lots of times when our (the parents) preferred outcome and hers are going to be different, where we are in agreement, but she’s not. Especially at this young age, where many of her requests are pretty outrageous.

    Do you have any further information on pitfalls for only children, where the balance is already weighted and not in her favor?

  5. Jackie Wilson


    I saw you present at the Adlerian Conference in Myrtle Beach this year. You mentioned that you might post the videos of the family meetings that you shared with us. If you did, would you please send me a link. They were eye opening and I think a great resource to share with others that demonstrate the value of family meetings.

    Thank you,
    Jackie Wilson

  6. Alyson Schafer

    Hey Jackie – if you sign up for my newsletter – you will be informed by email when they are posted. Its on the “list of things to do” – just never enough hours in the day! Glad you found them helpful.


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