My girls HATED doing chores. Don’t get me wrong—they’re definitely helpful around the house when they want to be. It’s just certain chores that they’d absolutely avoid doing at all costs. They used to kick and scream and put up a fight, and eventually I had to decide between facing the tantrum or just doing it myself. So, I decided to get smarter. Now, there aren’t any tantrums!
Did I put my foot down and start handing out punishments? Nope. Did I throw down some draconian laws that took away electronics and TV time? Nope. Did I incentivize them with treats and promises? Not quite.
I turned chores into one big household game.
Let the games begin!
A while back I read a book called Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games. It’s basically a book about how we can apply objectives and parameters to everything we do to make it more interesting. It breaks down the concept of “playing” and teaches you how to apply those principles throughout your life. I highly recommend it!
Anyway, after reading that book, I got really into the idea of “gamification.” Turning things into a game helped me to work more efficiently and keep myself motivated—especially at the gym. So, one day, I decided to try it out with my girls when it came to chores. I’m no genius, but this was a Nobel Prize level idea looking back!
All of the sudden, chores were fun! I handed out points for things like quickness, thoroughness and creativity. There were bonus rounds, special opportunities and games of random chance. We had award ceremonies. I’m even ashamed to say that competition gets a little heated at times! The take away here is that not only are my girls doing their chores without a fight now, they’re realizing it’s not so bad!
Developing positive work ethic
I see so many parents these days that are beaten down. They’ve got so much going on between work, parenting and whatever else life throws at them that when their kids start to push back on things like chores, they fold. It’s so much easier to let them off the hook or incentivize them than to get them to willingly comply. I really feel for these parents—and I recommend trying gamification! Not only is it a healthier way to reason with kids, it goes a long way in helping them develop a positive outlook on work and a good work ethic.
Already I see my daughters finding ways to turn work into play. I watch them embrace tasks instead of avoid them. I see them taking the time to do things right, rather than rushing through them just to be done. These are skills that’ll become invaluable as they grow up—whether it’s doing school work, getting their first job or distinguishing themselves in their careers.
Work doesn’t always have to be work. With the right mindset, work can be play. By turning chores into games today, I hope I’m teaching my daughters how to embrace work and make it something they don’t mind doing, rather than something they avoid doing.