When it comes to getting my kids to do chores, I feel like I’ve literally tried it all. I’ve given chore charts a whirl (multiple times); I’ve tried chore zones; I’ve even attempted chore bribery.
So far, nothing has worked, and with three growing kids at home, I’m desperate for a little help. Aside from burning the house down, the next best thing is somehow tricking my kids into helping me with the chores so we don’t all drown in a sea of LEGOs, backpacks, and laundry.
But as any parent knows, it’s no easy task getting your kids to FINALLY put their laundry in the basket — much less get them to fold it after you’ve washed it. The truth is, most parents either give up after trying a new chore method, or just do it themselves.
But now, a new app is here to rescue exhausted (and seriously frustrated) parents everywhere: It’s called Chore Check, and it’s designed to be a simpler way for parents to assign chores to their kids, and actually incentivize them to check things off their list by rewarding them with money. In the process, it accomplishes two tasks: Parents can actually get some help around the house, and teach their kids fiscal responsibility at the same time.
Chore Check is best to use with kids who are just learning to read, making Kindergarten or 1st grade an ideal time to start. And, since that’s when many kids are finally able to do real tasks like wiping the counters or setting the table, it works out perfectly for overwhelmed parents who are tired of doing it all on their own.
If you’re thinking that the last thing you need on your phone right is another app, considering you just finally figured out how to work SnapChat, consider this: Chore Check is free, and it might just get your kids to finally do stuff. Stuff that will make your life easier.
In other words, it sounds like a lifesaver.
And according to Ada Vaughan, the founder of Chore Check, the app itself is pretty no-fuss: “We are all about keeping kids organized, and keeping it simple for the parents, too,” she tells Babble. (I don’t know about you, but simplicity is key when you’re a busy mom just trying to teach kids how to be good, responsible humans.)
Vaughan also adds that the app has a unique “stealable” chores feature that sets it apart from other similar apps. “When parents create a chore, they can make it available to multiple children, so the first one to complete it gets the credit,” she explains. “It’s a fun way to encourage friendly competition and get things done!”
In my house, sibling rivalry is always a good motivator to get things done, and I can totally see my boys being excited about stealing away a chore from their big sister. And, it means my house is getting cleaner at the same time, so … win, win.
While the app is free, the chore check paid version (for $9/month) allows you to reload a prepaid MasterCard and move real money for the kids to earn and spend. I especially love this idea for older kids that are out with friends and need a little cash.
But, what if there are things that you don’t think your kid should need to get paid for, but they need to be reminded to do? My daughter, for example has a hard time remembering piano practice every day, but I’m not necessarily going to pay her for practicing piano.
Turns out, Chore Check has a solution for that, too:
“Some parent users include no-pay chores on Chore Check,” explains Vaughan. “For example, my daughter has ‘load backpack with next day’s school stuff’ as a zero value chore. She doesn’t get paid anything, but just checks it off when she’s doing her other chores. It acts as a reminder. Since we are focused on teaching money management skills as one of our core values, having parents pay their kids is an important component.”
And when it comes to ensuring the app’s effectiveness, Vaughan says she’s learned a lot just by testing it on her own kids:
“Parents who write lists of chores kids can do independently (as opposed to with help) find the kids have an improved confidence in their own abilities and pride in a job well done. From personal experience, I have a tendency to hover and fix — which can undermine my daughter’s sense of achievement. So I really try to put things in Chore Check and just let her do it. It has helped us both tremendously.”
I’m a hovering parent, too, and I’m constantly worried that my overbearing nature is just teaching my kids to wait until Mom nags for the third or fourth time before actually doing whatever it is they’re supposed to do. But I think this just might be the solution for our family. And my kids are at the perfect age to start being motivated by a little spending money, too.
I can’t wait to sit back and watch them check things off without me constantly nagging them to get the job done. And hey, maybe my house won’t need to be burned to the ground after all.