RTW: Let’s try this again

weekly reportI just re-designed our weekly report (i.e. time card). Again. For like the 100th time. Someday, I might land on the simplest and most effective way to do this for teenagers.

In our home, once you turn twelve, you start to earn your clothing allowance. You get paid weekly if you do the work assigned to you. This means you pay for all of your clothes, except for clothing you receive as gifts.

This has been a deliberate choice on my and Lane’s part, after observing families we admire, to help our children develop self-sufficiency amidst prosperity.

Our children are growing up with practically every basic need provided for them, along with some wants, and more than any time in the history of the world, we feel like our children need to develop the strength and ability to provide for themselves so that when they leave home, they won’t fall flat on their faces, so to speak. We don’t want them to be depressed because they feel overwhelmed with what is required of them as adults.

So we’re giving them a jump start while they still have back-up and can make plenty of mistakes without serious consequences.

Part of earning their clothing allowance is reporting on the work they have done.

My emphasis in having them fill this out is not to have them be perfect job-doers. I mean, it’s really awesome if a child can get everything done each week, but I can’t even do that as the adult! So I have a deal with them: Do your best. And you report on whatever you got done. If you really didn’t try, then you don’t get paid. We look at what happened that week: did we have vacation? Were you sick? Did we have 12 siblings’ recitals and games and having 2 papers to write and an AP test to take, etc. But we also talk about effort: are you just wanting to get paid but not really putting forth the effort?

Even though they report on goals, we don’t pay them for working on their goals. That is simply a way for them to learn to focus on their continual effort to work on and accomplish goals, both individually and as a group.

I know the most important part of doing jobs isn’t the reporting part. For them, it is doing it. For me, working with them to help them learn, encouraging them, and then praising them is my MOST important part. But because in life, if you don’t report your work, you often don’t get paid. So it’s just my way of helping prepare them for the future. Providing a way for them to learn to report and measure their progress is valuable and has its place.

So that’s how we do it in our home.

It’s not perfect, but we feel like it’s helpful. It motivates them sometimes, at least, because they do want to buy clothes from time to time. 🙂

I know that what President Monson said years ago is true. I’ve quoted it before, and I’m sure I will again: “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates” (see Thomas S. Monson, in Conference Report, Oct. 1970, 107). 

Happy Finding Ways to Motivate Your Children,

Liz 🙂


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