If you’re using ChoreMonster points as a bribe, you’re doing it wrong

Photo credit: NickNguyen / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

One thing we hear from time to time at ChoreMonster when explaining our product is ‘Well, I shouldn’t have to bribe my kids to do housework.’ I get it, I’ve felt this way personally at times when it comes to my kids and their role in our home. After all, we give them shelter, food, clothing and of course love. Shouldn’t they do some stuff around the house without the promise of reward points?

The answer isn’t as easy as you think, but I’ll tell you one thing, rewards are not bribes, at least they shouldn’t be. When you reward your kids for cleaning their room with some ChoreMonster points, it should be motivating. When you reward your kids with ChoreMonster points for helping to clean out the garage, it should also carry with it the satisfaction of a job accomplished and (hopefully) a job well done.

In the real world, we have a hard time doing stuff that we don’t see results from. If you worked a solid two weeks at your job and never received a paycheck, you’d probably not feel very inclined to continue the work without the promise of compensation, right?

At the same time, I don’t give my kids ChoreMonster points for remembering to put the milk back in the fridge or for lifting the toilet seat when they pee (BOYS!)

I also don’t give rewards in desperate moments. If we are on a car ride and the kids are misbehaving, I don’t get to the end of my rope and promise 100 points to everyone if they can just shut up. I don’t think that sets a good precedent. They aren’t learning from doing a job or receiving positive reinforcement when I’m just sick of their crap and want it to stop.

All that said, if you are having an issue that might seem simplistic with one of your kids, and ChoreMonster points and the rewards that it leads to can make a positive difference in your home, don’t be afraid to try it out. Every kid is different and every household is different.

So I guess the point is, if you are using ChoreMonster as a bribe, you’re doing it wrong. Remember why you decided to implement it in your home, to make chores fun for your kids, to help them learn responsibility and how to work towards and achieve a goal.

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6 thoughts on “If you’re using ChoreMonster points as a bribe, you’re doing it wrong”

  1. What do you think about using ChoreMonster to incentivize other things though? My eight year old son’s been helping out more around the house thanks to CM, but I also want to encourage learning… So I’ve been giving him the opportunity to earn points by completing Codecademy.com lessons.

  2. Strictly speaking, a bribe is a reward for doing wrong. You bribe a policeman so he won’t give you the ticket you deserve. You bribe a boxer to throw the fight.

    Rewarding positive behavior is called an incentive. At any rate, I agree with the article. Thanks!

  3. I’ve really enjoyed using this tool. I’ve also been impressed at how it is geared towards positive reinforcement. Like this article mentions, it’s a little sense of accomplishment that motivates more so than “do this or else”. I also like that it teaches my kids to budget. If they want a reward that costs more points than others, they have to learn to save up to get it. My wife was skeptical at first, but she has noticed a difference in their attitude now as well.

  4. I totally use chore monster for more than chores. They get points for reading daily, good behavior at school, awesome weekly progress reports, doing my “summer smarts” workbooks, and good grades.

  5. Nice but please read this, I NEED HELP PLEASE! My mom likes everything done one way and one way only, so i can’t do chores cause i don’t get the way she does it! So i don’t do chores but i really want to help her out but i always do things wrong. what can i do??!!

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