If you’re a mom or a kid, you are going to love the app iRewardChart. Have you ever used a Star Chart as an incentive for kids, listing the chores your kids should do and awarding them stars for each task completed, only to neglect it after a couple of weeks? Me too.
iRewardChart is like a Star Chart for your iPhone (it works on iPod Touches and iPads too). The app is $3.99 in the App Store and a free version is available with a maximum of one child and four tasks. I love this app because:
- I can customize the tasks for each child
- I can customize the rewards for each child
- I always have my iPhone with me so it’s easy to keep track of the stars
- I can keep track of the rewards I’ve paid out, and
- I have never, ever received so much help from my kids!
Here’s how it works: enter your child’s name (you can download a picture for each child too) and add tasks for that child. Make sure you and your child come up with the tasks together, you need your child to buy into this idea or it won’t work. Some sample tasks are loading the dishwasher, pet care, plant care, practicing a musical instrument, brushing teeth and, my personal favorite, helping Mom. The app suggests tasks, but it’s easy to add your own tasks based upon your child’s age and what your child is willing and able to do. You can add tasks based on behavior, chores, responsibility, or whatever else you and your child agree upon.
You can assign more than one star for a task if that task is more complicated or takes more time than other tasks, but I try to keep it easy with one star per task.
You know your child best, but I’m thinking you can use this app with children as young as four. Younger children can try easy tasks such as brushing hair, getting dressed, brushing teeth, putting dirty laundry in the hamper and helping Mom. Helping Mom should always be included!
One of my favorite aspects of the app is that it makes a wonderful sound like a bell ringing when you add a star. It may seem silly, but my kids love to hear the sound of the bell when they earn a star. Pavlov, anyone?
Now for the good part. As with tasks, the rewards you choose also should be based on the age of the child. If the child is old enough to appreciate money, cold, hard cash is a great incentive. If you have a younger child, you can use other rewards such as a new box of crayons, a craft kit, a book, etc.
The app suggests rewards and the number of stars needed to earn that reward. For example, the app suggests a trip to a theme park for 500 stars, but I suggest starting with smaller rewards so your child can earn rewards quickly and appreciate the value of completing the tasks.
My kids are 12 and 15 so I use money as a reward. If my 15 year old earns 40 stars in a week, she earns $15 for that week. 35 stars she earns $14 and 30 stars she earns $13. Below 30 stars she is not paid for the week, but her stars carry over to the next week. That way, if she has a busy week with exams or gets sick and doesn’t earn the minimum number of stars to get paid, she at least gets credit towards the next week. Any stars she earns beyond 40 in a week get carried over into the next week.
Now when we go shopping and one of my kids wants something, I say, “Let’s check the iRewardChart app to see how many stars you have.” If she has enough stars for the item, she thinks carefully about buying it and whether it’s worth the money. If she decides it is, she buys it and I deduct the stars from her account.
The Best App Ever? My definition of a great app is one that changes your life. iRewardChart has not only changed my life but also the lives of my kids. They are pitching in more, learning the value of getting paid for their efforts and helping me more than ever. I am able to delegate more tasks and keep track of when I pay them.
For me, using a carrot works much better than a stick and iRewardChart lets me use incentives with my kids effectively. Maybe, just maybe, if Tiger Mom had iRewardChart, she wouldn’t need to be such a tiger?
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