Thank you for your thoughtful post Nancy!
I actually feel a sense of freedom around the idea of providing a set allowance ‘no strings attached’ – it takes the load off of me to double check that the chores are being done- calculate the difference, micro-manage….yuck. That is not the kind of parent I want to be, it’s not what I want to spend my time doing & I don’t want to punish them for being kids and getting caught up in play, life, school work etc.
It is so helpful to have these conversations to recalibrate – my husband and I want to teach our children the ‘realities’ of life (you work, you get paid – you don’t go to work, you don’t get paid) but I also think there is an important opportunity to teach my kids that satisfaction comes from knowing they have contributed to the team in a meaningful way (without that foreboding feeling/knowing that they have to do it or else they lose out on something they want.)
So we have made lists of household & farm chores before, the kids have chosen where they want to contribute and we even negotiate fair, natural consequences should they not follow through on their commitments. For that first one or two weeks everything is magical. Then… resistance & at times a complete disregard for basic cleanliness, like bringing down dirty laundry. As I’m typing this I think I problem solved for myself how to avoid this back-slide: bimonthly check-ins. Every two weeks we can reevaluate how things are going, if their workload at school has changed, are there adjustments or areas that need renegotiating? – Perhaps doing this could help us all avoid frustration. Can you co-verify this thought direction? What would you suggest?