As you know, most of my posts have been about SharePoint, technology, community, most all things Microsoft. This will be a completely different subject.
I don't often write about my kids, but I have two sons ages 12 and almost 11 (in 2 weeks, yikes). They are smart kids, generally good and well behaved most of the time. But in the summer, they become lazy little bums most of the time. Don't your kids? Last summer I made chore lists and asked them to initial when they completed the chores. There was much grumbling and complaining that I was asking them to DO something while they were on their summer vacation.
Yes, I know. I'm a horrible parent for trying to get my kids to understand that they need to do more than just sit in front of a TV and rot their brains with stupid programs (with the exception of Girl Meets World, that's a cute one!) and video games. But I feel like they should understand that they do have things to do in life, they should start taking a few responsibilities.
Now, I'm a geek and a nerd to the core and I love technology. So are my kids. They love all gadgets and gizmos (we've got new speed cubes in our house, so it doesn't always have to be "hi-tech") and things that are challenging and rewarding. So at the beginning of the summer, I sat down with my kids and we made an agreement. They could watch as much TV or video games as they wanted before 5PM if they agreed to do certain things. Things like, get themselves up at a decent hour, brush their teeth, put on deodorant (this was emphasized, they are boys ya know), eat breakfast and lunch, play outside at least an hour, read their summer reading books and work on the projects for at least 30 minutes, complete all of their chores, make their beds, pick up their laundry, keep their room clean, etc.... They were on board, because it meant that they had screen time. AND it meant that they would actually do more than just that.
We started with the same chore lists as last year, age appropriate chores, a little sweeping, their laundry, some minor dusting, loading and unloading dishes, things like that. And it was not going very well. I was frustrated. So of course I did a little research, because yes, I'm that geeky. I found this App called "Chore Monster" that has COMPLETELY changed our lives.
If you're not familiar with it, Chore Monster has both a browser based interface and an app (iOS and Android, sorry Windows Phone people, you're stuck with a browser) to manage chores. I can assign chores to the boys, some one-time and some repeating on a specific schedule. Assign the chores point values (lesser points for the easy things like putting your dirty clothes in the hamper, higher points for things like sweeping the living room) and they can mark the chore as completed on their apps to earn the points. The points can go to specific rewards (some are monetary in value, some are not (extra screen time) and they can also play in the app carnival games and earn monsters.
My kids no longer complain about their chores! They get up in the morning and my phone starts dinging with notifications that they are completing their chores. It's been a complete change. I haven't heard a complaint (other than, Mom can you approve my chores please) in weeks about chores. I didn't even know until recently, but you can also send little messages inside the app. My youngest sent me a little message that said he loved when I give him hugs. It made my day (especially since sometimes he wants to shy away from hugs in public anymore).
If you're a family with kids and you want them to do chores, I HIGHLY recommend checking out this app. They don't have to have a phone to do it. Can be with an iPod or iPad or even just a computer, there's so many options and if your kids love gadgets and games, this totally makes it fun for them. The "gamification of chores" has revolutionized our house. I hope it helps in yours.