The Roots of Action Family Life Merit Badge
The Family Life merit badge requires a number of projects, including tracking chores for 90 days and organizing regular family meetings. It also includes the requirement to work on a family project that benefits others.
For your family project, choose a task that reflects your family’s interests and goals. Volunteering together teaches the importance of giving back and working as a team.
1. Make a list of your family’s goals.
A family goal is anything that you and your loved ones want to achieve together. These can be daily, weekly or long-term goals.
It’s important to note that a family’s goals should be based on their values and interests. For example, if your family’s values include the outdoors and musical theatre, then it would be appropriate to set some fun, long-term goals that allow your family to explore those interests.
In addition, a family goal should be specific, measurable and attainable. For example, if your family wants to start reading more books, then setting a goal for the family to read one book each month is a realistic and achievable way to accomplish this goal. It’s also a good idea to set a deadline for the goal and have regular follow-up meetings to assess progress.
2. Create a family budget.
Whether your kids are toddlers just learning times tables or teens with their own checking accounts and cars, getting everyone on the same page with money is a smart move. The best way to do this is to create a family budget together.
Begin by assessing all of your sources of income and listing each person’s monthly take-home pay. Then, break down your fixed expenses: housing costs, groceries, utilities, transportation, child care and minimum loan payments.
Add in any other regular expenses, such as entertainment, dining out and class field trips. Finally, set aside a percentage of your budget for wants, such as extras like vacations and clothing. You can use many online or smartphone apps to track and categorize spending, Payne says. This helps keep everyone accountable and on track to reach their financial goals.
3. Schedule regular family meetings.
Family meetings help families feel seen, heard, and understood — key parts of the Roots of Action Parenting Promise. They also encourage children to learn to be active participants in the family.
Make family meetings a weekly event at a consistent time and place. This consistency will help everyone get into the habit of attending, and it ensures that family meetings are as productive as possible.
Start the meeting with a short ritual, like a reading, song, prayer, or candle-lighting. Then, invite each family member to share the “ups and downs” of their day.
Finally, spend some time problem-solving and creating goals or agreements. Be sure to include brainstorming and compliments to keep the meeting positive. The goal of family meetings is to work together, not argue.
4. Track your family’s activities.
Tracking family activities can help prevent scheduling mishaps, like forgetting your child’s dentist appointment. Consider using a large calendar or dry erase board that all family members can use to record events and appointments. Color coding is helpful in distinguishing one event from another, or designating which family member is responsible for transportation or attendance.
Digital family calendar apps also offer syncing and sharing capabilities, which helps increase efficiency in your home. Some offer smart alerts to let you know when it’s time to leave for work or a date, and others have features that allow for note-taking and search abilities.
For older kids, encouraging them to add their own activities to the family calendar can help teach them responsibility. However, make sure your kids choose their activities wisely – not out of parental pressure or a need to boost social status.
5. Track your family’s meals.
There are several apps that can help you track your family’s meals. Some are free, while others have a one-time fee for the entire app. Regardless of which one you choose, it’s important to use a shared system that allows each member of your family to update a grocery list and/or suggest meals. This will allow you to stay on top of your meal planning and cooking responsibilities, making sure everyone gets the meals they need on a regular basis.
CareCalendar is a free website that helps families keep track of their meal needs during times of illness, recovery or life changing events such as the birth of a child or the death of a loved one.