A common theme here at Growing Creative Kids is how to bring more creativity into those routine daily tasks, because they have to be done. Sure we would all rather be engaged in other activities and creative pursuits, but it doesn’t change the fact that there are dishes, laundry and other chores waiting to be done.
Besides money, one of the greatest sources of family stress is the division of labour for chores. The task is to figure out a method that is fair and possibly even enjoyable for all involved. An open line of communication is key here, and so is identifying preferences in chores; what one considers a chore, another might enjoy.
There are many different ways you can structure the chores in your family, but I have discovered a GREAT resource for adding a little fun into doing those tedious chores. Imagine, kids running off with excitement to go fold the laundry!
Now that might be a little far-fetched, but then again, maybe not. You see, I’ve discovered the website Chore Wars (http://www.chorewars.com/), a fantastic tool that brings some excitement into daily routines. It not only allows you to create and track the chores to be done, but it’s also interactive and adds elements of adventure and reward and it’s fully customizable.
Chore Wars is built on a standard but simplified role-playing game model of creating a character who has to complete tasks or missions to gain experience (XP) and grow stronger and more powerful. The unique part of Chore Wars is that these “tasks” are completed offline as chores or missions. It is essentially an online, interactive way of keeping track of your chores. Chores to be done are “Quests” awaiting completion, and you can easily see what quests are available on an “Adventure List.” Once you have completed the quest, you log in and collect your reward, usually experience allowing your character to become stronger, but also gold and various (and customizable) items that can be digitally “cashed in.”
The XP is there to level up your character, because as you accomplish chores you’ll come across various monsters which you can battle for a larger reward! This can add a little more excitement for older children, and the higher level they are, the bigger the monster they can fight.
The gold is a virtual currency you can receive, with the idea that it can be redeemed for real-world rewards. For example, younger children might redeem 100 gold and you will bake their favorite treat, or they could use 150 gold and be able to stay up for 15 min. past their usual bedtime. For older kids (or adults), the gold can be used as a sort of savings bank – once you’ve saved up enough gold, you can spend it on the right to go buy something fun for yourself!
The last rewards are specific items, which can be “used” in the same manner as gold but would usually be redeemed for something specific.
For example, if you successfully and valiantly vanquish a load of dirty dishes, you might be rewarded with 40 XP, 10 gold, and an ice cream cone. The XP goes towards leveling your character, the gold could be saved up to order a special baked treat, and the ice cream cone could be traded in for an ice cream cone in real life! How you take these digital rewards and interpret them in the real world is entirely up to you.
If you’re not terribly keen on giving out real-life rewards for chores because you feel they should be done without compensation, then try linking Chore Wars to an RPG. Start a family role-playing game and let people earn XP and treasure in between game sessions by using chore wars! There’s a lot of incentive in an RPG to have a more powerful character, so if you can clean the house while earning XP, give it a shot! I wonder if Bruce has come across Chore Wars before?
The great thing about Chore Wars is you can fully customize the tasks/rewards to fit your family. They provide you with a list of the most common household chores to get you started and as you play with the program you can customize them and create your own quests. As the Dungeon Master,(DM) you can set the reward level for each individual task. So a task that is expected of your child, or is very quick might be only worth a little XP, while a special task above and beyond their usual chores might be worth XP, extra gold or even a surprise bonus.
It does take a little bit of extra work initially to set up the chores, but once you do they can be reused. The basic program is free and will probably be all you need, but for a little more flexibility you can upgrade to a Gold account for $10.00. The Gold account primarily increases the amount of information stored online, as the basic account has some restrictions on how long specific records are kept.
If you have a list of chores set up, kids can no longer say that they “didn’t know what needed to be done,” and if they ever dare say they’re bored, you’ve got an entire list of quests waiting to be tackled!
Chore Wars is also valuable for much more than just chores. You can use it as a fun goal setting tool or a way to tackle your progress in almost any area. How do you make any huge project seem manageable? You break it down into simple, quick tasks that are easily completed and trackable. Older children can create their own Chore Wars account and use it for project planning, they can set their own tasks and build rewards into their plan. It is a great way to stay on track and see your progress. It also provides a bit of a fun break after completing a task!
I have been using Chore Wars for several weeks and have found that it does make it easier if chores are seen as “quests” and there is some fun built into the process. If you are looking for a way to make tracking your household chores a little more creative, give Chore Wars a try!