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Best apps for getting kids to do their chores without whining or nagging.

POYEL: Using Technology to Get the Chores Done Whine-Free

It’s March!  Which means spring – and spring cleaning – are just around the corner.  Which also means it’s time to dig into some more Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life ideas.  Today Kristin’s here sharing her favorite app for motivating her kids to get their chores done (without having to nag, yell, or essentially drag the will to participate out of them).

And speaking of POYEL – don’t forget, our new freezer cooking eBook is coming out in a matter of days.  Be sure to join MPMK’s newsletter list here to be the first to know when it does!


Where chores are mentioned, the idea of allowance often isn’t far behind.  Do you give your kids one?  If so, when did you start?  If not, why not?

Learning how to help out around the house is a big part of growing up. It seems like this should be an easy concept, but if you have kids, you know sometimes it’s easier to do the job yourself. After thinking about the issue, I’ve realized the root of the problem (at least for me) is how to manage getting the chores done. And doing that without nagging the kids seems impossible!

I’ve tried chore charts on the wall with stickers. I’ve tried verbally reminding them and I’ve tried all kinds of incentives. In the end, the chores get done, but the process is arduous. It feels like more work for me to make sure the kids are doing the work. Enter: technology.

I checked into some different chore chart apps and after experimenting some, I found that the Reminders app that comes free on iphones, ipod touches and ipads was exactly what I was looking for: simple and easy.


All I did was write the list of chores in the note pad section of the Reminders. For each chore, you have the option of repeating the reminder daily or weekly. The kids can check off the chores as they complete them and an alarm will remind them if they don’t complete the task that day. There’s something about checking things off (especially digitally) that’s gratifying! I’ve found the kids really enjoy checking off their chores and an iReminder is better than my voice!

Question of the Day

Where chores are mentioned, the idea of allowance often isn’t far behind.  Do you give your kids one?  If so, when did you start?  If not, why not?

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Kristin is a former teacher turned children’s photographer in southern California. Visit her website to read all about her adventures in photography, cooking, and her love of style.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth March 7, 2013 at 12:57 am

Perfect timing…I just helped my 10 yr old program a wake-up alarm on her i pad. We also activated the Do Not Disturb app so she doesn’t have to hear email notifications or get texts while sleeping. Now, I’m going to have her make a morning schedule in the Reminders app so she can check things off, great idea!


kristin eldridge photography March 9, 2013 at 10:37 am

I think you’ll love it Beth! My kids have been really into it!


gina March 7, 2013 at 11:39 am

My oldest is only 4 so I am not there yet but that makes for another question. At what age did you start giving an allowance? I hope others chime in.
A friend told me she gives her 6 yr old one and I was shocked! What does a 6 year old need money for?

Chores are another story – I expect my kids to clean up w/o being paid for it – its OUR home and we all pitch in and take care of it.

I honestly cant remember getting an allowance as a kid – if I needed money I would ask.


mpmk March 7, 2013 at 5:33 pm

We haven’t started with allowance yet and I’m not sure when we will. But I agree that it will not be as direct payment for all chores. For me, allowance is more about teaching my kids responsibility and money management. Chores are everyone chipping in to do their part to support the family – no compensation needed.


Brittany June 4, 2013 at 9:26 pm

My son is too little right now, but my fiance and I have already discussed what we’re going to do with our kids when we get to that point. Neither one of us were taught very good money management because our parents would buy us whatever we asked for without really teaching us anything about how we would buy the things we want and need when we’re old enough to handle our own finances.

We will start with “chores” (basic picking up toys, brushing teeth, etc. and as he gets older, he won’t get allowance for routine picking up after himself and hygiene anymore, but only for things like doing the dishes and vacuuming) and an allowance as soon as our son is old enough to start asking for toys in the store and knows some basic math. It makes a very good math lesson too if you count out the money with them to pay for the toy they’re getting (although I would recommend stopping to do that before you get up to your turn in the checkout line). He’ll learn not to expect anything just because he wants it, it will give him time to “save” for a toy he really wants but he also has time to think about what he wants and make sure that’s really what he wants to spend his hard earned money on.


kristin eldridge photography March 9, 2013 at 10:39 am

Gina…we started giving our kids allowance around 1st grade. Our reasoning is that we wanted to teach the kids money management and also how to differentiate between needs and wants. Of course we buy all the things they need, but if there’s a toy they HAVE TO HAVE, they had to decide on saving up for it or deciding they didn’t really need it after all.


Johanna March 14, 2013 at 7:38 am

That’s EXACTLY how we are thinking too. Our oldest is 7, in first grade and she gets roughly a dollar per week (10 swedish krona), and our son is 4, and he gets half that. It doesn’t seem fair that he has to wait three more years, but he gets less and its a chance for both of them to learn gently the value of money.


lynne May 22, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Same for us. My 5 year old gets an allowance and has specific chores to do. I don’t love tying them together but it just sort of happened that way, we’re moving now so when we settle in the new place they won’t be tied. The allowance is great for managing needs vs. wants and my daughter even had an opportunity to learn about debt when she wanted something that was more than she had. Smart girl chose to buy something smaller that was within budget.


Meg May 23, 2013 at 9:48 am

My children are 8 and 10. In our house their are certain chores they are expected to do without getting paid for it, like cleaning their room, taking care of their animals and help to clean the kitchen every night after dinner. However, if they want to earn money at home I let them do extra projects (which frankly I don’t have time to do) like washing my car, cleaning the inside of the kitchen cupboards, cleaning the fridge, etc.

My kids have always wanted money because we don’t buy them toys/games outside of Christmas and their birthdays. I buy them clothes and shoes, obviously, but anything extra that they need to save for. This started at about age 5 when I got tired of them asking for things every time we went to the store. I think it teaches them how to save for the things they want, they’ve learned not to spend their money foolishly and also that buying fun things that you want comes from hard work, not from someone just handing it to you. People are always surprised that I do this because in no way is our family lacking, I just think it instills good values and builds character.


Brittany June 4, 2013 at 9:30 pm

That’s exactly our viewpoint on it. We don’t want our kids growing up feeling like they’re entitled to everything and think they don’t have to work for what they want. That’s part of the problem with the world today because there are far too many people who feel that they are above working and everything should be given to them.


jasi March 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm

my oldest is 6 and uses her ipod responsibly. my 4 year old is a wild man and chipped my old iphone- so it became his when i upgraded. they’re both monitored and have designated time for entertainment but the older one uses hers as we do as a tool. she uses the alarm to wake in the morning, checks the weather by window and ipod to decide what to wear and uses calendar and reminders to stay on track. is it weird?.. totally, i think my parents were still picking out my clothes when i was six and they definitely woke me up, repeatedly. but this is a new generation so we roll with it. allowance has just begun as a price list for extra tasks beyond the basics. they use this specific (very low $) allowance for buying songs, apps etc. it wasn’t planned but it’s working for us and removes the nagging.


Chris B. March 7, 2013 at 5:57 pm

My kids get an allowance. I follow the $1 per year (Duct Tape Parenting all the way). It’s not so much about need as giving them practice in handling money now when the stakes are small and mistakes are minor. They use their allowance to buy presents for friends, family, the difference between the shoes I’ll cover and the fancier ones they want, games, etc. Son #2 (age 9) is already starting to invest in the stock market.


Marnie March 7, 2013 at 8:59 pm

I’ve written quite a bit about this topic on my blog. My latest thinking is thinking about chores as extra work done around the home above and beyond typical family contributions (a la Love and Logic). Makes sense to me on a number of levels. A child might not get the same message if he gets paid for making his bed or picking up his room (daily contributions) versus scrubbing floors and toilets, extra yard work. I am also a fan of assigning different dollar amounts for different tasks. Not all jobs are created equally! Check out the posts on my blog if you want to hear some initial thoughts on my ideas of an allowance system: http://carrotsareorange.com/allowance-top-10-tips-establishing-allowance/

~ Marnie


kristin eldridge photography March 9, 2013 at 10:41 am

I agree…there are the expected things like brushing your teeth, making your bed and picking up your room. Then, there are things like unloading the dishwasher and cleaning mirrors that we pay them an allowance for. My kids are older (8, 10 and 12), so they are starting to do bigger jobs.


brenda March 9, 2013 at 1:58 pm

I have never given my kids an allowance for their daily responsibilities. We are a family, and as a single parent, everyone has to contribute. That being said, their are things around the house that still don’t get done. For those things my kids have the option to do them for money. (windows, cleaning the car, folding laundry for me.) I have one daughter that earned $20 this month by doing extra chores, and my son earned $5. My other daughter didn’t care to do anything extra, but I am ok with that.


Jenny March 11, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Technology definitely does seem to make chores easier to manage! Have you heard of My Job Chart (www.myjobchart.com)? Like the reminder system, you can customize chores and it’s free. However, My Job Chart also allows kids to give directly to charities, such as Heifer International and Operation Smile – a pretty cool feature.


Angela Reuss June 23, 2014 at 11:54 am

I’m glad to see you are rolling with the new age of technology. Many parents/educators don’t realize the importance of updating the way we reach and teach children.

Children love the idea of being independent and doing things on their own. Just like adults, children don’t want to be “bossed around” either. When parents provide discipline (teaching) and children know the why, and what to expect, they are more likely to cooperate. It’s when they don’t know what to expect that makes them have a hard time knowing what to do.


kristin eldridge June 24, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Thanks Angela! I love your thoughts about kids not wanting to be bossed around. :)


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