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Family Powwows

 

I’m not talking about dressing up as Indians. Although, we have. I’m talking about weekly family powwows (or meetings) designed to cultivate togetherness, communication, encouragement, and fun.

But doesn’t the term ‘family meetings ‘ sound so dull and boring? I cringe at the thought of trying to use that phrase with my kids. So I came up with the “family powwow”.

I love this time. But I have to fight for it. I must be intentional or it evaporates.

Family powwows have so many benefits that if you aren’t doing a weekly or even bi-monthly powwow you must stop holding out on your family and share this with them. It will teach them life skills and I know you want your kiddos to learn life skills, kindness, and togetherness.

Originally, we got the idea from a family resource called Positive Parenting Solutions. Since then, we’ve changed it up a bit but check it out. It’s awesome.

 

 

The Purpose of Powwows

  1. Brings families together for quality time and to remind each other through the busy seasons of life to put family first.
  2. Teaches each other how to say kind things (which is actually really hard for people if they’re not used to it).
  3. It allows kids to respectfully voice their opinion about family fun or solutions to problems.
  4. Gives kids an opportunity to lead, whether it’s the powwow leader, game organizer or snack server.
  5. Teaches children how to communicate their feelings (which is very important. Check out a book that changed my life called How We Love).

 

 

How to Set up Family Powwows

  • Pick a night you know everyone is usually home; not a weekend. We chose Monday nights. Check out our Week @ a Glance to make it easy to schedule these meetings.
  • Set aside an evening and begin either during dinner (we serve everyone’s favorite; lasagna and garlic bread and then share kind words while at the table continuing the powwow in the livingroom after cleanup) or start right after dinner.
  • Have a calendar of events handy to look at (preferably the family calendar that is accessible. We pull ours off the dining room wall).
  • Serve a special dessert. We usually have dessert only once a week on this night.
  • Plan on playing a short game or doing an activity together. This is not a must, but make it a priority sometimes. We can knock out a game of charades in 15 minutes. And we all end up having fun. Even the teenager. Or maybe it could precede family movie night serving popcorn and candy.

 

family powwows

 

How We Do Our Family Powwows

  1. Everybody has a job
    • You can be the meeting leader, dessert server, note-taker (to jot down fun ideas, etc), calendar reviewer, game leader, or even napkin passer (if you have really little guys). Keep a Powwow clipboard handy with last week’s notes for a speedy review if you think it’d be helpful. “Did we take care of the problem we talked about last week?”
  2. Encouraging Words
    • Choose one person (usually the oldest if you’re just starting out) to say a kind or encouraging thing about each member. Make sure it’s something he appreciates or noticed the person did during the week for anyone. My littles usually thank their siblings for playing with them on the trampoline or with Legos or thank me for spending quality time with them.
    • I think specifically about a character trait or a good habit they practiced and say, “I’ve noticed you’re more organized this week with school” or “I really appreciate how you jumped in and helped load up the truck without being asked”. In the beginning, my littles frequently commented on how they liked each other’s hair.
  3. Calendar of Events
    • Glance at the calendar and skim over the current week’s meetings, appointments, or events so everyone is on the same page. Start planning a family vacation. Talk about the new school year or the goals for the new year.
  4. Brainstorm fun family ideas
    • Allow everyone the opportunity to offer their opinion on what type of fun activity the family can do within the next week or two. We discuss hikes, beach time, awesome movies coming to theater, special dinner ideas, or families to have over for dinner.
  5. Problem Solving
    • This is the time to present any family problems one might have. But one rule: if you bring a problem to the table, you must have a solution to follow. It’s important not to turn the meeting into a gripe session.
    • For example, if someone is frustrated because people aren’t asking to use personal belongings, a solution could be that everyone agrees to ask before borrowing. Or if the kids keep leaving toys out, a solution could be “starting tomorrow, anything Mama finds on the floor will be picked up and disappear into a bin for an unspecified amount of time.”
    • It’s not a time to vent or be rude. It’s time to model good communication skills.
  6. Dessert Time
    • Take turns letting each child pick a dessert of the week and plan to have it available at your next powwow. I’ve learned not to serve the treat until the end of the powwow or else the sugar rush might create chaos.
  7. Game time
    • Pick a game or activity to play such as “Would you rather?”, charades, Pictionary, etc. or take an evening stroll, sit by the fire and roast smores, play a game of Hide & Seek or raise the bar and try to get through a session of the “quiet place”. It’s like Hide & Seek, but with the lights out. Super scary. But so much fun! The littles will probably need a buddy to hide or seek with.

 

 

family powwows

 

Powwow No-Nos…

  1. Don’t interrupt during words of encouragement. Make sure everyone knows not to interject during this time. This is a great opportunity to teach your kiddos eye contact while someone else is speaking to or about them.
  2. Do not correct ideas, solutions or thoughts. Ever. Look for the positive in every perspective.
  3. Making the family powwows all about problem-solving isn’t a good idea.

 

Conclusion

Are you excited about initiating family powwows in your home? I know to some it might just be another thing to feel like you have to incorporate, but it shouldn’t be that way. You either want this or you don’t.

If you do want this and can envision the benefits for your family, then put it in your schedule. Be intentional. 

Spend some time praying and planning the when, what, how, and where. It’s not rocket science or even baking (which I constantly screw up).

It’s pulling your family together once a week for a good meal, yummy treat, kind words, fun traditions, problem-solving, practicing communication, and getting on the same page.

 

 

 

Conclusion

Healthy weekly family time has a legacy of benefits. It does more than gather your family for a hot meal, some fun time, and a yummy dessert. It teaches your children life skills like encouraging one another, problem-solving, communicating in a productive manner, planning ahead, brainstorming fun ideas, leadership, and more. 

Don’t let your family miss out on this wonderful tradition. And like every worthwhile thing, it takes intentionality. Give it time.

 

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