"I just thought I would mention that our meetings often go over 20 minutes but my kids still look forward to them. They love picking the family activity, they like problem solving too. I’m not saying we should disregard the advice to limit it to 20 minutes (we do lose my son if it goes too long), but I think the meetings can still be successful even if they are a bit longer."
Thank you for this comment. Family meetings can go longer than 20 minutes. There is no hard and fast rule. It depends on the attention span of your family.
We have had lots of good meetings that went longer than the 20 minute mark, but we have also had some disasters. I give the 20 minute suggestion, so that you keep the positive energy in the meeting up and people will continue to look forward to them.
It's basically an anxiety thing. In church my children will ask me how long it is until the meeting is over. If I say, "In 45 minutes," they slump down in the bench and look like they are going to die, but if I say, "In 15 minutes," they perk up and enjoy the rest of the meeting. Thinking about staying in one place for 15 or 20 minutes is doable, but if the time limit is undecided or too long, the children could assume that the word meeting means, "until everything is done." That thought has anxiety and frustration all over it. If the children are anxious they will act up.
***If the meeting is going long and everyone is enjoying it, no worries, keep going. My rule is that if the meeting is going long and we start having bad behaviors or attitudes or the energy falls out of what we are discussing, then we need to resume at a later time. This biggest thing I watch for is if Dad gets drowsy. If he is drowsy, it's time to stop the meeting. He has fallen asleep a few times. Falling asleep in a meeting is a message that the meeting isn't important to you. I don't want my children to ever get the impression that Dad doesn't care about the meetings. Sunday afternoons can make people drowsy sometimes I guess.
Thanks for the great/useful comment. :)