My oldest son has been asking for chores and allowance for about a year now. My husband and I have given them little responsibilities here and there. We paid him a quarter a toilet if he would wipe the misses and splatter off the lids when he was three and four. And now as part of our daily lives all four of our kids set the table, pick up the yard, clear their dishes and put their own laundry away.
But we’ve never paid them. My husband and I both have a conviction that chipping in around the house is a responsibility when you are a part of a family. Our kids eat, play, use the bathroom and have clothes laundered in our humble home so it never seemed like not paying them was the end of the world.
However, as these boys grow and summer is upon us we have decided to take the plunge and pay for extra work around the house.
As a teacher in my pre-mom days I have toiled over charts, thought about creating my own with a pocket chart or a laminated one with velcro stickies but I just never landed on something that was just right to track the numerous chores of our three boys and the little lady who will be joining them on the chore train before I can blink. I needed to find something that would grow with us as we grow.
And then I remembered hearing of this marvelous website and app from my son’s first grade teacher.
Friends, I have found the most wonderful tool. Chore Monster has exceeded my expectations today as I’ve added numerous children, almost thirty different chores and nine different rewards, only two of which are actually monetary.
Here is how it works.
Sign up for free at: www.choremonster.com
I would add all children first. Then when you go to add chores and rewards you can click on “copy chore/reward” for each additional child.
When I added chores I selected some from the list but also created a bunch of my own. Chores I expect them to do every day like brushing teeth, making beds, getting dressed, praying at meal time, all of those are worth 5 points each. Other chores like dusting, clearing dishes, sweeping, playing a board game with a sibling, wiping counters and sinks are worth 10 points and I have a few chores worth 25 points: Wiping down toilets, folding towels, reading for 20 minutes, working on four pages of Handwriting Without Tears Workbooks, and writing and illustrating a summer story.
I then selected the box “make this chore with no schedule or due date”. Then chores can always be reoccurring and I don’t have to manage when they are due. As my kids grow this may change but for now we are just getting our feet wet.
Finally, when adding chores I searched google images, this is a built in on the page, to compliment the chores so when my kids view them in the app or on the desktop they all have a visual to match the text. This helps early readers and I think makes it look like more fun!
This was the fun part for me. My kids don’t need a ton of money, a little will go a long way and also be enough to teach them about what things cost as well as enough for them to consider tithing to children’s church from their own wallets.
There are only two monetary rewards on our list. With this site, this can also change as my kids grow.
For rewards I chose, pick what’s for dinner (50 pts), dates with mom or dad (75 pts), pick the family movie night movie (75 pts), stay up 45 minutes past bedtime (100 pts), five dollars in cash or for the iTunes store (250 pts), Reds Game with just Dad or go with one parent and stay at Kings Island until fireworks (300 pts).
The last two are really desirable for my kids but almost free for us because we have season passes to Kings Island and my husband has a clergy pass for the ballgames.
I’m hoping with the different kinds of rewards my kids will find healthy-just-right-for-them positive reinforcement.
I am trying out the point scale this week to see if I may need to up the ante. My oldest child’s chore monster has been active for all of two hours and he has already earned 55 points with his younger brother only ten points behind him with 45 points.
As my kids complete chores they can select which chores they completed in an app on the iPads or on my phone as well as on our desktop computer. Each child has their own log in with their name, picture and simple password.
After they log in their chores I have to approve them before they get points. You can change this in the settings when adding chores so chores are automatically approved, it’s completely up to you and your management style.
The site has lots of other fun features like:
-As I approve points, the site gives tickets kids can cash in to watch silly short movies, upgrade monsters and use to spin the wheel at the carnival. We’ve lost at the carnival every time so far and this made my four year old cry.
-You can add bonus points. This was amazing because after my four year old cried I basically gave him his points right back. But also as summer rolls on and can sometimes cause siblings to get on one another’s nerves when I mentioned the bonus point feature to my older kids I said I will only be shelling out bonus points for kindness to others or encouraging words to others from now on.
So here goes my first structured summer with chores. I’m sure the learning curve will be huge and I will probably have a hoarder of points cashing in for 250 dollars at the end of the summer or all my kids cashing in for the mommy and daddy dates at the same time. Please pray for grace along the journey.
And please go check this out now. As you are learning this site along with me this summer don’t forget to comeback and share your thoughts and comments.
Thank you Chore Monster. Go team Parents.