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COTA: Website takes the chore out of getting kids to clean up

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Jim Cota

Can’t find a far-flung soccer field? Google maps on your phone is standing by. Need a review of pizza joints while traveling? Yelp can help. Can’t recall that song title? Shazam!

While these apps are life-enhancing, they aren’t life-changing. At least, not like my new favorite digital tool, ChoreMonster (https://www.choremonster.com).

With ChoreMonster, kids earn points by completing chores set by their parents. Each chore can be selected from an existing list (or you can make up your own) and assigned a due date. The chores can also be assigned custom images—helpful if your kids are using an iPod or iPhone to keep track.

When parents create the list, they assign each chore a point value. Setting the table might earn 10 points, whereas a more onerous task, like pooper-scooper duty, might earn 50. The next step is the magic that makes it all work: setting point goals to achieve rewards, which are also created by the parents.

If you know your son or daughter loves ice cream or would do just about anything for an extra hour of game time or has been asking for One Direction concert tickets, you can assign point values the child can work toward to earn those rewards. The beauty? You get to decide.

Parents receive an email when a child has completed a chore. The parents then have the option to review the work and accept or decline the task as completed. It’s a simple process—far more creative and much less daunting to kids than having to face down those intimidating refrigerator or whiteboard chore postings. Parents and kids have separate logins to manage and review chores. (One minor gripe: Each account can be assigned only one parent, so you and your spouse will have to share a login for the time being.)

Wondering if asking your 5-year-old to clean the gutters is perhaps not age-appropriate? This summer, ChoreMonster added a new app called ChorePicker. This simple tool helps parents find age-appropriate chores for their kids. It also features a step-by-step process to teach kids how to do a specific chore. ChorePicker is a separate app for iPhone, iPod and iPad users that integrates well with ChoreMonster.

Geared for kids ages 4-12, ChoreMonster requires Internet access, and a computer or iOS device (iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad). While there is no Android-friendly version, developing one is on ChoreMonster’s own chore list. Start with the FAQ and ChoreMonster blog pages to get a good overview and some ideas for how it can be used.

With the free version or ChoreMonster, you get the basic chores/rewards program. With the paid version, your child gets access to the Monster Carnival and Monster Marketplace, where they can use earned tickets to play.

When these creative designers come up with HomeworkMonster, we’ll be first in line.•

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Cota is president and co-founder of Rare Bird Inc., a marketing communications firm specializing in Internet application development. His column appears monthly. He can be reached at jim@rarebirdinc.com.

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