You may find this shocking, but getting my 11- and 9-year-olds to do household chores is like pulling teeth. Rotten kids!
That may change now that I've got You Rules Chores on my iPhone. This clever new app turns household chores into a game, rewarding each kid a designated number of coins for each completed job. Whoever finishes the week's chores first is the winner. (Of course, we all know who the real winners are: mom and dad.)
The app features cute graphics and music, and after a parent gets set up as the "referee," each kid gets to choose an avatar (from only six available, alas).
Next, you create a chore list, using a supplied selection of common ones (make bed, fold laundry, etc.) and/or your own additions. Each chore earns one, three, or five coins depending on difficulty, though you can also assign your own number.
The only slightly challenging part about using You Rules Chores is setting up the calendar for each and every chore and assigning them to each kid. Fortunately, this is pretty much a one-time setup hassle.
As chores are completed (and verified by the ref), each avatar moves up the ladder toward the weekly finish line (and earns "powers" and gadgets). If you have competitive kids, they may enjoy racing to see who can get done first. And, of course, it's up to you to decide what the reward is for finishing: a toy, an allowance, getting to sleep inside the house for another week, or whatever.
I haven't had the chance to put this to the test on my kids yet, though I suspect the app would work better with slightly younger ones. Even so, You Rules Chores is an impressive and potentially life-changing tool for families. Definitely worth the $3.99 price of admission.