I've read in a few books about the benefits of having regular family meetings. They seemed nice and I thought we would do that...when the girls were older. Last week I was reading T. Berry Brazelton's Touchpoints: 3 to Six and he mentions that four is a great time to start family meetings.
I spent a while trying to figure out what should be included in a meeting. At four the girls aren't able to discuss ways to cut the budget or if we can bump down our cell phone minutes. Those are things Ima and Aba have to decide among ourselves.
Instead I focussed on things the girls already do and just formalized them.
Each girl is in charge of picking up one type of item before bed.
Each girl is in charge of feeding one set of pets.
Ima and Aba have two jobs to do before bed.
You are responsible if your job isn't done. You can ask for and give help. You can do more. In one month (marked on the calendar) we will meet again and pick new jobs and pets to care for.
They were already very excited about it and kept asking to add more jobs to their list and wanting to help.
We'll see how they feel about it tomorrow night when they have to pick up their things.