How often do we make agreements with our kids, only to have them say, “You never told me!” “We didn’t talk about that!” The best solution for this situation is preventative: Put it in writing. As I approach age 50, I admit that my brain is a little “squishier” than it used to be. There are certainly times when I think I’ve told them something but I didn’t (although not as often than my kids think!).
Write It Down
- List of chores and homework assignments for the weekend. We make a plan on Friday night of what needs to be done each day, and a target for when it will get done. In her Time Management tele-class, Marydee Sklar suggests you write it on a big White Board in your kitchen or family room. This helps make sure that you don’t get to Sunday night and find that nothing is done.
- Written “contracts” for car, cellphone use, homework, and school performance. We do one of these at the beginning of each new semester as a way to talk to my kids about commitment to the things that are needed to be successful in school.
- House rules. There are tons of variations, and they can be fun to create it together as a family. Elaine actually has a “Family Constitution” on her refrigerator which covers family guidelines, and is still funny enough to keep people interested.
- Financial log (answers the age-old question, did I actually pay you your allowance this week?).
- Love notes. Periodically leave little hearts or smiley notes – or “you rock” notes – around the house or in your child’s lunch box. This can help make sure that they pay attention to the other stuff you put in writing!