Saturday at our house is chore day. We need a good hard reset so that when Monday comes, we have an orderly house that we can live/work in. Keelie and I run into the same two problems every week. First, the kids seem to forget from week to week what chores they have done every week for years. Inevitably, we write out the same old list. Second, once we write said list, we get the “Aaaawwww, it’s too much! We’ll never get all that done!” Then starts the fighting and the cajoling and the unpleasantness.
I had an idea during the height of the Pokemon Go! craze. Why not gamify their chores? I had done this previously by using an app called Habitica, but it had sort of flamed out after about six months. There are other apps/systems you can check out as well, like Chore Monster. The makers of Chore Monster also just launched Landra for teens and Mothership for the whole family.
I got a little more creative, and designed our own game. I stupidly named it Reasemon because I was in a hurry and I’m stupid. Get it? Reasemon? Reason… Pokemon… you get the idea. It’s stupid.
But the boys LOVED it!
The Short Version
The short description is that after each chore they got to do something with their animal character. All of a sudden they couldn’t get the chores done fast enough! Because it was such a hit, I did another one a few weeks later with a different theme where they built up little future space soldiers. Again, stupid, but the kids were enthralled.
I designed the game around my boys’ interests & I plan to do more versions down the road. This idea can easily be applied using any kind of interactive reward system. It just takes some creativity, and yes, some time. However, I found that the time I invested into designing these games was considerably less than the amount of time we often spend fighting about getting the chores done.
The Detailed Version
If you’re interested in the actual mechanics of the game I did, read on.
I wrote out each boy’s list of chores, and tried to give them roughly an equal number of items so their game would last the same amount of “levels.” This required a little creativity itself. Next, I cut up some notebook paper to create “cards” for each animal character. I drew the first one for them to give them the idea. After completing their first chore, I gave them their first card that said “Congratulations! You found an egg! Take out the trash to hatch.” (Put in whatever their next chore is on each level.)
The next card said “You egg hatched a Riptar! Do the dishes to evolve.” I had a naming system in mind that made the final version of the character some kind of play on each kid’s name. For example, Braden’s final two creatures were Drado and then Brado. Each time they completed a chore, they received a card and got to draw that character. Then the card instructed them to the next chore and so on.
Future Space Soldiers
The second game didn’t get a cool/stupid name. I just told them they were going to design future… space… soldiers. I think they bought it. This time, they would come to me a get a chore from my list. When completed, they would choose some part of their soldier’s equipment, which I’ll outline below. They wrote down each part and when they were completed, then drew the whole thing. It was harder to convince them to wait on the drawing part, especially with the five-year-old, but eventually it worked.
The parts of the soldiers were as follows:
Choose your Division – Infantry (the fighters), Intel (gathers info and breaks into bases), Guard (defence)
Ammo – Flame, Grenade, Laser
Ammo attribute – Spread, Mega attack, Rapid fire
Gun material – Gold, Sapphire, Titanium
Gun upgrade – Accuracy (better aim), Power (does more damage), Magazine (more bullets)
These are just some ideas I came up with. The kids had a blast with both. They played with the Reasemon cards for a good week until they disintegrated or got lost. They had fun designing their soldiers and their guns, and then pretending to be those characters during their playtime that week.
How do you motivate your kids to get their chores done? Let us know in the comments below. I’m always looking for good ideas!
Austin and Keelie have been sharing life together for nearly two decades. In that time they've gone from high school sweethearts to a family of five.
Austin loves making Keelie and the boys laugh whenever he can. Occasionally he writes things.