I don't have many things posted on the side of my fridge, but CJ's Chore Chart is there. Sadly, glancing at the chore chart only serves to remind me that I'm not so great at making CJ follow through on those chores. It worked for a while. Then as homework, activities...and c'mon, let's be honest, attitude...have increased, my enforcement of the chore list has decreased.
It's been a subject I've avoided until recently, when I realized that if I'm going to have a peaceful and simple home, CJ's got to pull her weight. Likewise, I can't shirk this parenting responsibility any longer. I put off confronting the issue (and the cat fight that would surely ensue) as long as I possibly could, but I finally worked up enough courage to devise a new plan.
Rather than following a chore chart that really isn't worth the paper it's printed on, I've given CJ a list of her responsibilities. As a member of the family team, she contributes by taking care of her things. That means she empties her backpack and lunch box, picks up her things from the living room, and cleans her room and playroom (she has lists posted behind both doors to define a "clean room"). Those are the non-negotiable, unpaid duties. (To be honest, I don't require that she make her bed every day because mornings are choreographed to the minute, and I don't make mine every day since R and I often have to sleep at different times because of his shift rotation.)
She has the chance to earn money for doing extras (mainly on Saturdays) - laundry, dusting, mowing the lawn, etc. She cannot earn any money unless she's taken care of her primary responsibilities. The money she earns is for "treats" - candy at the ballgame, trips to the dollar store, and trinkets she wants to purchase. Mom and Dad are not bankrolling her spending any more.
I've read varying opinions on making a child's allowance contingent upon chores. We're taking this approach for three reasons:
First, we don't get paid unless we work. CJ needs to learn to work.
Second, she's not getting paid for doing what's expected as a member of the family. She's earning money for surpassing those expectations.
Third, we're tired of paying for everything CJ gets. She doesn't get everything she wants, but like most children, she's not above pitching a fit when she doesn't. Since she knows up front that we won't be purchasing "extra" items anymore (except for rare occasions), she can set goals and determine what she wants most. I'm willing to bet she'll soon realize that many items she thinks are necessities are, in fact, luxuries. If I'd only learned that sooner myself!
So far, the new chore plan is working. I don't have to nag her to get things done (money = incentive). She's taking care of her things, and has been a tremendous help to me. Tackling extra responsibilities makes her feel more mature. I'm hoping she'll learn the value of money and how to make wise spending choices.
I don't know that it's a perfect plan, but it sure beats the guilt of staring at a useless chore chart every day!
*updated to add: in response to Mary's question, CJ is 9 1/2. Basically, she does what I ask (and sometimes gets motivated to do more). I like not assigning chores, because now we don't argue that she didn't do something on her list. This was huge for us...because she tends to avoid things she "has" to do. She would do laundry instead of emptying trash cans. Well, whatever she does is something I don't have to do & I'm okay with that. (How can I gripe about emptying trash cans, but expect her to do it?). So far she hasn't complained when I asked her to do something extra. Again, money is a great motivator!