Chores in the Digital Age

If you didn’t get the news flash…my daughter got an iPhone for her 9th birthday. I still have mixed emotions about it, and may go on a bit of a rant here, but there is some legitimate and valid arguments from both my husband and daughter. She was definitely getting more social, many of her friends at school already had phones and she was getting left out of conversations and messages, also Verizon’s new plans which just rolled out giving us more data with carry over making it perfect timing. With our upcoming trip to Mexico, the included plan access there is perfect too since we know our resort has spotty wi-fi. Going on a tangent, but definitely give them a ring to flesh out if the new plan is for you.  I was still able to retain a couple of my bonuses from prior plan agreements which really sealed the deal for my daughter’s new phone.

From morning to night.
From morning to night.

Getting back to my story, after the whole debacle with her lost Gizmo Gadget, which I still most upset about, I was most concerned with her losing such a valuable piece of equipment. Let’s be frank here. A new iPhone can cost upwards of $700. Yes, I know I could definitely be more worried about other things when a 9 year old has an iPhone but it’s not cheap and I’m going to be paying for it for the next 2 years on Verizon’s monthly payment plan. But if I had to wage bets, the likelihood of my daughter losing her phone was practically ZILCH. It never leaves her side. She’s on it all the time, which is a whole other argument… But she values it like her own life. It’s her everything. She plays games, watches videos, texts her friends (supervised of course), keeps in touch with mom, dad, grandma and grandpa. It’s proven itself to be quite the multi-tasker and thus it’s worth its cost. I still have to stomach that my kid got a WAY more expensive birthday gift than I haven’t gotten in years, but again, that’s another topic all together.

Then it suddenly dawned on me, she’s proven to me she can be responsible, what else can she be trusted with… Drumroll please!

CHORES!!! Yes probably not what you were expecting me to say but seriously… Let’s reminisce a bit. At the tender age of 9, do you remember what your responsibilities were? I vacuumed, I washed dishes, I took out the garbage… I even mowed the lawn. I KNOW!!! Insane right?! Well there seems to be laws and stuff against this or a judgmental mother around the corner ready to shame me for such a thought or (ahem!) a father that thinks his princess is too young for such things… If you asked me, we’re a little late to this game, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be responsible for little things. By little things I mean things like:

  • Everywhere we go, it never leaves her sight - not to worry, were parked here!
    Everywhere we go, it never leaves her sight – not to worry, were parked here!

    Brushing your teeth in the morning and night, yes that would seem less like a chore and more like just good hygiene, but the struggle is real in my house.

  • Putting your clothes in the laundry basket (and not on the floor and especially not “near” the laundry basket! Anyone else have this issue?)
  • Cleaning your room (seriously because I don’t want hear you can find this or that when I repeatedly tell you if you put it back in its proper place, it will be exactly where it should be!). Let’s just put it out there, I really want you to clean the entire house, but baby steps.
  • Putting away the clean dishes and utensils from the dishwasher. Look I didn’t ask you to wash them, even I don’t do that anymore and your father was having a fit that you’ll break everything in the process (let’s be honest, I really wanted you to wash them too, I mean, isn’t it a rite of passage?)  when we really know who breaks every dish in our home (cough cough… not me!).
  • Taking out the garbage. Obviously you’d have to learn to put the garbage actually in the garbage can and not just in the vicinity of it but I’m hoping one will lead to the other.

Yes I know I’m such a slave driver! I’m also not above bribing to get these tasks of basic survival to get done. So that little phone is going to work for me and earn its place in your hands.

I got to thinking, after seeing a Kickstarter plan for a watch like activities reminder for toddlers. After she lost her my beloved GizmoGadget, no more watches for us, but the concept was really cool and so so smart. I do also acknowledge she’s not a toddler anymore. The watch did require an app and I realized there are apps for everything. I got to searching and tried several apps for managing chores for my kids before settling on Allowance & Chores Bot.

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having some fun on her phone with the Prisma app, my girl and I!

A very intuitive app that allowed me to set chores and reward into a virtual bank account. I loved that I could deduct as well and she could check off which she completed. We tried this for a month. The novelty of it was fun in the beginning. We loved choosing the avatars or personalizing it with a photo. She loved checking off the completed tasks and watching her bank account grow. I even got a little lazy and started using it to track how much money she got for her birthday in her balance. In theory it sent notifications to her to complete chores. I could also get notifications, but I opted not to as I hate annoying pop ups which may have contributed to why as the weeks went on, less and less chores were being completed. I also wasn’t completely sure if she was getting the notifications despite my adjusting and checking the settings a few times. he swore she was getting notifications, but then couldn’t explain why she wasn’t completing her chores which left me back at square one.  I’m not sure when they’re sending them and since scheduling chores only allowed setting of days for chores to be completed and not timed, that became a big issue for us. Like if she’s not getting the notification for completing taking out the garbage until the day after when the garbage truck has already come and gone, the notification is pointless.

If I was super ambitious I might go and develop this app a little better, but yeah… I’ve got enough on my plate at this time and decided to go back to basics. In combination with the Allowance & Chores Bot I set obnoxious alarms to go off whenever a task is due. Really it’s quite a simple fix and an amazing one too.  After telling my daughter she isn’t to disable any of the alarms and she can’t turn off the alarm until the task is complete, but can SNOOZE it for a few until it’s done. Chores are GETTING DONE! Whoo hoo!
She’ll thank me for it later… I hope 😁 and before everyone starts to tell me how much of a pushover I am… I  (secretly) took the new iPhone 6S and gave her my iPhone 6 (in the iPhone 6 box I saved with a new phone case) which was still in excellent condition, because like her, my phone is my everything too. Now all she seems to need is more chargers and a trip to the Verizon Wireless store will solve that! Yes, they’ve got those too!

{ disclosure:  I am a Verizon Lifestyle Ambassador, I receive no compensation for my post, no discount on my service, I pay for my own plan and service. I just happen to love everything about Verizon and now there’s so much MORE to love! }

#VZWBuzz