It's finally reached that point of the summer...I'm tired of being the one to pick up the wet bathing suits, towels, unpack and repack the camp bags, vacuum up after sandy feet, AND THEN have to do the regular household chores that moms always do! I love having more time with my kids in the summer, I just wish that I didn't have to spend so much of that time cleaning up the never-ending messes!
I've recruited help... ChoreMonster (available for iOS, Google Play, Amazon/Kindle, & Apple Watch) lets me set chores for each child, assign "stars" that they can accrue for "rewards" (you pick those too!), and suddenly the often-requested summer ice cream treat becomes a reward that they have to earn! You can assign the frequency of the chores as well as a "due date" or timeframe for completion. Since my kids are just starting with chores on a formal basis, many of my selections reoccur daily with no actual due date. As long as something gets done each day, I'm thrilled!
Tonight, we set up the chores with my daughters and considered their input on what would be worth more/less... and not 30 minutes later, the dishwasher was emptied and reloaded, the dog was fed and walked, and the camp lunches and backpacks were ready to go for the morning! I love that I have the option of manually approving on the parent app (Mothershp) that the chores were actually done before star points are awarded.
Here are some of the kid-approved chores we've added: empty dishwasher, load dishwasher, put away laundry, pick up toys, make bed, walk dog, feed dog, pack lunch, pack backpack. ChoreMonster offers suggestions for typical chores that you can include, or you can create your own.
Here are some of the rewards we came up with as a family: movie night, game night, ice cream treat, candy, $2 allowance, family activity. We chose to leave out extra screen time or video games and use the rewards concept as an opportunity to be more connected as a family. You assign the reward/star points equivalents as well as the rewards, so there is a lot of flexibility for parents.
The kids have already learned that saving stars & tickets for bigger reward items is in their best interest, as they initially wasted quite a few on the built-in game features that didn't result in much fun (compared to their efforts!). To me, this is the first step in teaching money concepts - we all learned about "return on investment" at some age - effort/reward is a concept that kids definitely get! In our house, we're not ready for the responsibility that comes with getting an allowance, but I did set a 250 star reward as a $2 allowance. I figure that will buy me A LOT of helping hands while introducing the concept of money & saving.
If you read my blog post with Wolf+Friends awhile back, I talked about developing life skills, independence, and executive functioning skills through toy organization and following up on basic clean-up tasks. It dawned on me mid-mom-meltdown that I somehow had forgotten my own suggestions and that I was doing a disservice to my children by picking up after them and not teaching them the life skills to manage it all.
As an occupational therapist and assistive tech specialist, I often make suggestions about using visual supports, breaking down tasks into manageable parts, and giving positive reinforcement for the behaviors you want to see - when looking at the ability to adapt these daily skills for children with different abilities, I'm impressed that ChoreMonster does this all for your child so intuitively!
When choosing your chores assignments, you can select from stock images of actual photos or icons, or you can take your own photo of your actual home/items/child! This customization may be critical for children who struggle with generalizing directions, interpreting visual information (symbols vs pictures vs text), or recalling steps to a task. The visual display is clear and concise, not visually overwhelming, and a good combination of text and pictorial supports for comprehension. Because the parent sets the number of chores for each child, you can set up the program to have as few choices as just one task, or many more! You can determine how best to set your child up for success...and get a little household help in the process!
I'm excited about this Tech Solution for my summer cleaning woes and I think there's great capacity of this app to teach life skills and basic routines or expectations for all children based on the design/customization features. I, for one, am feeling pretty good about the mutual benefits of holding my kids accountable for doing their part... with a little fun thrown in!