This is a review from Kodette LaBarbera on her family’s use of ChoreMonster and Mothershp. Kodette is best known for her role on the television docu-series Hockey Wives, and as an advocate for the autistic community. She is the mom of two fiery boys: Ryder, 7 and Easton, 5.
I’m lucky my husband does all the cooking, but I was starting to feel the frustration around the rest of the chores and household work. I was doing it all. Major tasks like scrubbing down the bathroom, all the way to feeding the dog and picking up clothes off the floor. Clothes that weren’t mine, either. I should have help with this stuff. We have two very capable boys.
My son, Ryder, is seven. He has autism and isn’t in tune with the things we do to maintain a household every day. Certain things that may seem normal to others can cause him a lot of anxiety. The unknown outcome of certain tasks and a bit of fear surrounding it can make it hard for him to grasp why things are and why they need to be done. The structure helps. Giving him some control and a guarantee about what comes next has proven beneficial.
Our youngest, Easton, is five. He has a mind of his own already. Whenever I try to get him to help out he is just “too busy” for anything I have to ask. Because a five year old is too busy. He just wants to play and doesn’t really want to help with the clean up. He needs a visual of how and why things need done. He is also the kind of kid who needs to see how helping can benefit him.
This is all before ChoreMonster.
I found cute chore boards and charts in the toy aisle, on Pinterest, and even suggestions from friends. Trying to get them to complete chores was becoming a nightmare. The boys didn’t see any benefits from completing chores and there were no true rewards for their work. Even the cute magnetic chore chart, that originally gave me high hopes, was being dismantled and the magnets would go missing for days. It wasn’t working. A friend told me about FamilyTech and their app for kids: ChoreMonster. I was hesitant because nothing ever seemed to work. There was never any follow through. But, I gave it a shot.
ChoreMonster and its parent-centered app, Mothershp, have been amazing. Kids these days are so drawn to their iPads that there really is no better way to engage them than to use that technology for the greater good. I’m a believer in monitoring screen usage and providing my kids with experiences to learn and have fun. This is different. They get to see their chores and how many points they’ll receive by completing them. Their rewards are right in front of them and they understand that the points are what’s needed to get the reward.
They aren’t on their screens all day. They’re learning time management, money saving skills, prioritization, and they’re having fun while helping me keep this well-oiled machine running.
One of the ways Ryder’s autism affects him is that he doesn’t have the social connect to know that he should help with chores, when he should help with chores, and why. It’s hard to get him engaged and be aware of things that need done. With ChoreMonster, he has goals to work towards. He’s putting away his clothes without being asked, brushing his teeth, cleaning up toys, and even feeding our dog without me prompting him. This is a huge step for our family.
Ryder loves the simple things the app offers: the thumbs up he gets to press when the chore is complete, and the sound of the monster that congratulates him for getting it done. He is actually excited to help out because he knows what comes next. I can see that it gives him a sense of pride in his work.
Easton gets it, but like most kids, doesn’t always do it. That’s changed. He makes sure we don’t forget about the chores he’s done and comes to us to make sure we’re checking in on Mothershp. He’s excited to see what he’s supposed to do every time he checks in. I can see his sense of pride in getting it done and his excitement around knowing what’s coming next.
Recently, they both got to purchase their first toy with the points they earned. They were beaming knowing that they earned it. They’re understanding the value of hard work for money and the things money can buy them. Ryder has been anxious for Christmas to get here so that he could get a new train, but once he realized that he could earn it now by helping out with chores, he was more motivated than ever. Easton loves treats so his points are used for those. He was also able to see that he needed to save them in order to get the new baseball equipment he really wanted. It’s amazing that my husband and I don’t have to remind them or bribe them anymore. They know what needs done. They get it.
We couldn’t be happier with the things our boys have accomplished using ChoreMonster. We all enjoy it because it takes the nagging out of chores and doesn’t require us to find in-the-moment incentives just to get basic tasks done. It’s something our family has been waiting for, without ever even knowing it. It will be a staple in our house for a long time.