I am constantly struggling to find effective ways to keep up with our lives and manage our household despite the fact that with each passing day, there seems to be less time to do it all than the day before. One of my family’s most recent successes has been a weekly family planning meeting right after Sunday dinner.
Each of us grabs our calendars and schedules and we sit down at the table as soon as we’ve cleaned up from dinner. At our family meeting, we discuss three things: Upcoming Events, Menu for the Week, and Chores for the Week and record it all on our family meeting planner.
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Items Included on Our Family Meeting Planner
I wanted our week-at-glance to be both comprehensive and easy-to-read. So, our family meeting planner contains our three most essential topics.
Each member of the family takes a turn going over their events/activities for the upcoming week. We write any new events on the family calendar and review existing entries to make sure time and location details are correct. For the purposes of staying completely in sync, we also write in practices, meetings, and events that occur on a regular basis that don’t usually make it onto our big calendar (e.g. gymnastics practice, piano lessons, volunteer duty at school).
Each person (except for the youngest because she doesn’t have a phone or iPod yet) is responsible for also entering his or her information into Cozi, the app we use to coordinate our schedules, to-do lists, and shopping lists. [Side note: Though I do include a lot of affiliate links on my site, this is actually NOT an affiliate link for Cozi. I’m not trying to persuade you to use them. It IS what my family uses because it’s easy to use and really helps keep our activities synced.]
Menu for the Week
Each person in the family gets to select the dinner menu for one night during the week. This serves three purposes.
First, it takes the pressure off of me to do all the menu planning. Second, it empowers each member so that at least one night a week, they know they will like what’s being served for dinner. And third, it helps me to finalize a menu plan before my Monday grocery trip.
With six members in the family, that leaves us with one night reserved for leftovers or eating out/ordering in. As we discuss the dinner menu for the week, I also accept other grocery shopping “suggestions.” This is when I get feedback on what types of breakfast, lunch, and snack items the kids prefer.
Chores for the Week (To Do List)
My kids have specific duties for which they are always responsible. Each of them is expected to make their beds each day, bring down their dirty laundry, put their clean laundry away, and clean up the kitchen after dinner.
In addition, each of my children has specific chores assigned to them based on age. My teen son has weed whacking duty and is responsible for taking out the kitchen garbage, my younger son is responsible for emptying all of the other garbage bins in the house, my teen daughter has litter box duty, and the youngest is responsible for feeding the dogs. These chores don’t go on our list because they are assumed.
However, if the car has moved past functional family vehicle into potential science experiment, cleaning the car is assigned to a few family members. Likewise, if the house is in post-flu season, we’ll add disinfecting all phones, doorknobs, and light switches to the chore list. If we have a big event coming up, shopping for supplies or gifts goes on the to-do list.
Download the Family Meeting Planner
When we started our family meetings, I would just update our big family calendar app and our Cozi files and then scratch out the menu on a piece of paper so I could later write my grocery list. As we started tracking chores and our collective to-do list, I realized I needed a better system so I developed a family meeting planner sheet that I put on the refrigerator after we’ve filled it in each week.
Now, we have an easy at-a-glance visual aid to keep us on track in a central location where we see it several times a day. This has put an end to countless questions about “What’s for dinner?” “What time will you be home?” or “Has anyone brought up the bin of 4th of July decorations?”
It’s amazing to me how this one piece of paper can make such a big difference in how well our family runs. I hope it works for your family too!
30 thoughts on “Manage Your Busy Family Life Easily with a Family Meeting Planner”
thanks! love these exactly what i was looking for
This is one of the best ones I have read! so kudos mom and a big thanks as well! This broke down every thing Ive needed in one stop! which is awesome.
What a marvelous idea! I can see where this could really help and sets a nice tone for the week. thanks,
Thanks for stopping by Carol! I hope it’s helpful for others. It’s done wonders for us.
Great idea! How do you include your children in this meeting and keep them involved (and without having boredom related freak out moments)?
Great question! We start with the youngest first since their attention spans tend to improve with age. That way, if the meeting goes long, she’s free to be distracted and we’ve already incorporated her input. The meetings don’t really take very long (about 10 minutes) so we don’t usually have boredom issues. On the contrary, the younger ones seem to appreciate being treated as equals in the family, having their opinions and activities “count” just as much as everyone else’s.
This is fantastic! My kids are still younger and count on me to organize and schedule, but I love this for when they are a bit older! Heck, I could even incorporate their dinner suggestions into our routine now! Thanks for sharing and for linking up to ‘Favorite Things Friday’ with Simply Rachel & Hip Homeschooling! =)
I think this is such a great idea! And you are so right… toddlers are harder than newborns, haha! The older kids get, the more involved in activities they are, which makes organization a must to keep up with everything!
Thanks for this printable, I will be using it with my family!
Yes! The older they get, the more capable they are, and the more they do and want to do. I hope this printable is as helpful for your family as it has been for mine. 🙂
I love this! I’ve wanted to try and do some sort of family meetings for quite a while now but really wasn’t sure how to organized them. You just did that for me 🙂 Now, to figure out a time…our schedules change so much that I’m not sure after dinner would work as well around here.
I really need to get my boys to do chores. I hate nagging, but that seems to be the only way…
Lana, that is a problem I’ve faced a lot! The most successful strategy I’ve found for dealing with that problem is our Consequence Jar. Maybe this will help?
I was so excited to see your name pop up on the link up today, I haven’t been here in too long (can anyone say BUSY???? 😉 I love this idea, my kids are still young so their schedules are made by me, but as they get older and have more events and things going on, this is a fantastic idea! I love that they are involved in even planning the meals, that is half the stress of meals for me, coming up with everything on my own. I try to get hubby involved but he is markedly unhelpful, happy to eat anything 😉 Thanks for sharing and linking up at Favorite things Friday! Make sure to add the button or linkback to be eligible to be featured, I’d love to feature this on my blog! Hope to see you again next week my friend!
Hi Rebecca, I’m so happy to see you here! Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and comment. I’m trying to get back in the habit of linking up at parties because I miss mingling with other bloggers. So many great posts out there! I do have you listed in my link party directory, hopefully that is sufficient. Either way, I’ll be coming back every week to join the party. 🙂
Hey there! I am going to be featuring your post this week on the blog and then sometime throughout the week on my social media! Thanks so much for linking up this great post! Pop over and say hi on Friday once it goes live 🙂
simple yet efficient, looks like a great planner for a busy family!
You know I love how organized this one sheet of paper can keep an entire family! This is just another example of why you are a wonder mom!
Thank you for this! I’m always, ALWAYS trying to be more organized (and mostly failing miserably, haha!) Right now we have a whiteboard where we keep track of schedules and meals, but we hardly ever seem to have the time to update it, haha! This seems like a much better option! Thanks again!
I know what you mean Michelle! Our “command center” is a series of white boards and they just weren’t getting updated often enough. Post Sunday dinner works for us since it’s the one day no one has any activities that might keep them from family dinner. It still amazes me what a difference one piece of paper has made in how well things run around the house! I hope it works for you too. 🙂
What a great idea! You have combined three of the most important things to do each day in one sheet. I really love that you let family members pick the menu items – so much less work for you! Makes every one happy, especially Mom!
We do some semblance of this, but your printout is going to organize it and make it so much better, thank you!