** Guest Post **
With kids from 9 to 14 our house can go from pristine tidiness to a tornado aftermath in a couple of hours unless everybody picks things up after themselves, cleans the messes they make and does chores regularly. While we do and provide a lot for our kids, we also want to teach them accountability, teamwork and humility. These traits are not just nice – our children need to learn responsibility to be competitive in today’s job market. The materialistic attitude of modern culture teaches kids to be entitled, to want instant gratification, to get everything just because they want it. I want to teach them that while their life might come with a lot of privileges (not just allowance, but also mobile phones, fun toys, respect, trust, free time…), living in a family also comes with responsibilities. Too many parents fall into this trap: if all the kids have iPhones, so must their kids. But have they EARNED IT?
This is where Homey comes in. Homey is a mobile app for families that helps us manage chores, allowance and rewards. The easiest way to reinforce responsibility is by being consistent. That’s why a good chores and rewards system in an app is just so much better than a chore chart that just takes too much time for us parents to keep up. Our kids are also crazy about technology, so just having a fun app instead of a chart is a big motivator for them.
We’ve been using Homey for the past 6 months and this is what I love about it:
Managing chores for the whole family
The best part of Homey is that it connects everyone. In this sense it’s like our “command center” we used to have on our kitchen wall, but it’s so much more than that. It sends notifications to everyone when their chores are due, allows me to manage everything if the kids don’t have their devices on hand (which could come handy for younger kids!), I can even set permissions for each family member. This allows our oldest to give me or his dad a “chore”, since he’s responsible enough to not take advantage of it – he uses it to request items from the store and such. Having everything on each of our devices makes everything run smoother for us.
Motivating with rewards
You can either set up regular (weekly) allowance and if you want you can make a requirement that responsibilities should be done and the kid should get a certain amount of points in that week. Or you can set up an extra monetary reward, where you can say they’ll get for instance $5 for every 50 coins, and it doesn’t matter how long they had those coins (they can do a lot of chores in one day, or get 50 coins in 3 months). You can even add activities or products as rewards. And you can also set a due date on rewards (that goes for all rewards, not just monetary), which can come handy when you’re trying to motivate kids to earn extra money to buy something on a trip you’re already planning or something like that. This works really well since kids see their progress and thus stay motivated.
Allowance transactions to real bank accounts
To make managing allowance even easier for parents, Homey will now launch a completely revolutionary feature that will allow parents to transfer allowance money directly to the kids’ real savings accounts. This will not only help us teach kids modern money skills they will definitely need in life, but also how banking works, how they can accumulate interests on their savings and we can be sure that their money will stay safe. We want to promote long term saving so they won’t become impulsive buyers, and Homey is giving us a tool that will help our children learn financial skills that will follow them through life. It also means that I won’t have to manage IOUs or look for change every week when allowance is due!
Building accountability with photos
Homey is a really visual app and we love that about it. You can see what needs to get done at a glance. It has cute illustrations for premade tasks and I can take photos of kids’ messy rooms and assign them to kids and they take photos of their cleaned rooms after. It’s just satisfying to see the results and kids have a lot of fun taking proud selfies in front of a just emptied dishwasher. It adds an element of fun to an otherwise boring task. Somehow, kids also do a better job when they know they will be sending us a photo as a “proof” later. We use this feature for most of the kids’ tasks, but Homey has recently added an option to disable it, which comes handy for tasks like “Read a book for 20 minutes” and my own tasks.
How to get started with Homey:
- Download the app for iPhone or Android on your own device.
- Set up your household – you can invite your family members who already have their own devices or create profiles for them – so it works for kids without devices, too! If kids don’t have their own devices you can mark their chores as done for them, or if it’s a shared device switching profiles is also really easy.
- You, as the household creator, have all the features enabled. Homey will set user roles for other family members based on their age, but you can customize all the permissions for everyone in the Household settings available in the sidebar.
- Set chores – you can set recurring chores, which can be repeated daily, weekly, monthly or however you want, or one off chores. You can set a fixed due date or leave them to be completed any time – of kids want to do something above and beyond their responsibilities to earn more. You can set how many points (that go towards the leaderboard and allowance) and coins (that kids can redeem rewards with) each chore is worth. If you use Homey to manage chores for yourself as well, you don’t have to set coins for yourself, but you can still get points – and be up there on the leaderboard! You also don’t have to set up coins for kids’ responsibilities – like brushing teeth, morning routine, etc., but kids will still get reminders to do them and become more independent.
- Kids get notifications when their chores are due and complete them without nagging. This step of the whole process is the most amazing one!
- Kids get rewarded for doing chores. They claim rewards and you confirm when they’ve been given or pay them directly to their bank account.
- Chores are done, allowance is settled, kids are happy, you are happy!
*I have partnered with Homey to bring you this information. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect my own. This is a compensated post.