An App That Prompts Children to Do Their Chores

ROY FURCHOTT, NYTIMES

As a preteen I was fascinated with a neighbor’s chore board. I recall a rotating wheel, color coding and a list of household assignments. It showed who was to do what task that week, and it had a points system that led to rewards.

Ah, the modern age. That chore board has been reborn as an iPhone app called ChoreMonster. It assigns work, tracks completion via e-mails to parents, and gives children points, which can be applied to rewards of the parent’s choosing.

The app is still in beta testing, and you can get it only with an invitation code. For now use the code “times” in the Web page’s upper-right-hand sign-in box to join.

Here’s how it works. A parent signs up for ChoreMonster online. A child’s name and age are entered, a password is set up, and a picture is added to the account.

Next, the parent adds a chore, picking from a list, like making the bed, feeding pets or picking up toys. Or a task can be made up, such as “eat your Brussels sprouts.” A schedule is set up for how often the task needs to be completed, then points are assigned for completing it, from 5 to 5,000. For eating Brussels sprouts, it needs to be in the 5,000 range.

Next a reward is added. Anything can be chosen — an ice cream cone, a movie, a trip to Disneyland — then “upload image” is clicked to add a visual reminder. I wrote “Frisbee with the dog,” and darned if it didn’t find several suitable images on its own. You can also browse your own collection of photos for one to add.

ChoreMonster App Nudges Kids To Get Things Done

NEHA PRAKASH, MASHABLE

ChoreMonster is the newest app to turn a seemingly endless list of kid-allergic chores into an interactive game. It gives kids a reason to get their tasks done and keeps parents from tirelessly nagging.

The app comes in two versions, one specifically for kids to use and one for parents. The adult version lets parents set up task lists, deadlines, rewards and points for completing tasks. Parents are also given the option to “accept” or “deny” a completion of a task to monitor how well their child is, for example, cleaning their room — kids don’t just automatically win the points.

When kids log in, they can see what needs to be done and what their rewards and points are for getting those items done. The reward system creates “positive reinforcement” for kids to do things they may not normally be inclined to do, ChoreMonster’s CEO and co-founder Chris Bergman tells Mashable.

But the part kids will enjoy the most (other than maybe scoring a trip to Disney World for washing the dishes 500 times) is collecting humorous monster characters. Monsters are awarded after kids achieve certain task milestones. Bergman compares the monsters to FourSquare badges and kids are encouraged to collect the full set of monsters.

It’s important to create apps that engage parents and children in positive ways in the house, Bergman says. The app allows communication that can be done on a parent’s time schedule, he adds, since not all parents can monitor and reward kids for making their bed daily.

More importantly, Bergman says today’s generation is significantly more connected at a young age. Since kids are inheriting old phones and iPads from parents an app like ChoreMonster can give kids beneficial use of that technology. “Sixty-two percent of kids under 12 have mobile devices,” he says, adding it’s more beneficial to expose kids to essential tools of today’s culture so they can get a jump-start on understanding them.