Our family had been using ChoreMonster for about a month. We were still getting the hang of things and were trying our best to make it a habit because all of us hate chore charts. This was in the beta days though, before the parent app and the monster carnival. My eight year old loved it and was excited to not only use ChoreMonster, but also to log in and check out new monsters. My 15 year old didn’t care too much, but was participating because he understood that doing his work led to getting stuff he wanted.
My 12 year old on the other hand, often the contrarian, wasn’t buying in.
“ChoreMonster isn’t really working out Dad” he said in his most concerned voice. “What do you mean?” I said. “Well, it’s just not working, I don’t want to do it anymore.”
“You do realize that your Mom and me are still going to require you to do the chores, right”? I explained. (Slightly taken back, but unfazed) “Yeah, that’s fine.”
And there it was. He quit.
What I realized at that moment and still today is that he quit because he was working hard and wasn’t seeing the results he wanted. His response and decision were immature of course, especially after I explained that it wouldn’t get him out of the chores, but for my 12 year old, sometimes it’s better to be stubborn than to be wrong or appear wrong.
But it wasn’t just immaturity and stubbornness at work here. I often want to quit too when I don’t see the results I want quickly enough. It’s difficult to feel like the things I do are of value to others and myself unless I feel like I’m getting something (cough, blog comments, cough) from it.
I would bring up getting rewarded for chores to him over the next couple of weeks and for the most part he stood his ground. (He’s pretty good at this stubborn thing…)
Eventually, for one reason or another he caved. He realized, or finally admitted, that it’s better to get something for his work instead of nothing, and now he’s all in.
One thing I realized though was it was mostly my fault!
The way we set up rewards was wrong. The rewards were good but there weren’t enough and they were too tough to get. So instead of just having 4 or 5 things, most of which required hundreds of points to obtain, I started to add a bunch of smaller rewards. I added things like dessert out for 50 points or an extra 30 minutes of IPad time for 25 points. I think adding these smaller rewards makes a difference in how excited and interested the kids are in participating.
Things aren’t perfect but we are making progress. If you’ve run into this type of situation with ChoreMonster or with anything really I’d love to hear more about it. Also I’d love to hear some of your smaller rewards ideas.