The day my son quit ChoreMonster

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.

~

familytechjoe

8 thoughts on “The day my son quit ChoreMonster”

  1. Great thoughts! Both my boys are young (6 and 4). We ended up setting up lots of low rewards so they can cash in after just a day or two. They are appeased by little things like Oreos & Milk with dad, or a coffee date with Mom (both either 100 or 250).

    We also had to reevaluate the costs of chores, often raising their value. Our thought was that they should be able to cash in something that costs about $2-5 every week. Anything more than that would take a couple of weeks or up to a month.

    I like the idea of rolling in iPad and video game time. We had that before for the oldest (Mario Kart with a Dad). I may add in a mobile game option for him as well since he digs Angry Birds.

  2. Thanks for the feedback Mitch. I want to add more of those things as well but I get caught in a place where I want to make sure I’m doing stuff with my boys just because and not just for rewards. I have to work to find that balance still, ya know?

  3. I’m just getting started with this concept so it’s a bit overwhelming assigning point values to chores for me. We have kids ranging in age from 5-15 so we will need a myriad of ideas! A few ideas that I have for privileges that don’t necessarily create the “i need more stuff” syndrome of our kids would be these: playdate with a friend, picnic, going on a hike, 10 minute backrub, reading time with mom or dad, choosing what’s for dinner, helping make (and eat!) a dessert, a new craft item, movie choice for family movie night, music downloads, a night off of chores (and mom or dad do them so they still earn their points!), taking them to a roller or ice rink. I’m sure there are tons of ideas out there but it’s trying to tap into other’s ideas!

  4. Hey there Four Boys! Thanks for the question and for checking out ChoreMonster. First and foremost, I’d lean our way because ChoreMonster is free to download and use, while You Rule costs upfront. In addition, we do not use negative reinforcement with ChoreMonster and feel this helps set us apart when the goal is making chores fun. Thanks again!

  5. My 6 year old was complaining about the rewards as well. But then I added rewards for less points and showed her how she was never getting to the reward she really wanted because she kept using up her points for silly things like a lollipop. She wanted a toy so bad, I got it for her and showed it to her and put it in as a reward. but then she never had enough points for it, because as soon as she had 25 points she opted for the lollipop. After talking about it, she agreed that we should remove the lollies and work towards a larger goal. It’s what worked for her. We’ll see what happens later on.

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