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Why it works

The first question we usually get asked is, “Why on earth should we pay our kids to do what they ought to be doing anyway as a member of this household?” Our answer is this:

You probably pay for most, if not all, of their stuff anyway, such as: phone bills; membership fees and equipment for sports (soccer, karate, gymnastic, horse riding, etc.); internet access; entertainment; and a host of other stuff.

But are your kids actually learning what all this stuff really costs and how hard you, as parents, have to work to earn the money to pay for it all? Not likely…

As adults, we understand the need to teach our kids the value of hard work and managing money. What better way to do that than teach them early on that all the stuff they want to have and do costs money and requires working to earn it.

In our house, we pay our kids to do chores around the house and then make them pay for all their own stuff and activities. This way, they learn what everything costs in the real world and how much of their time they’ll have to trade to earn the money to pay for it.

In addition, we’ve added a simulated banking component to the KidzChorz app so kids can learn about earning interest on their savings account and paying interest on loans for bigger purchases, just like in real life.

How it works

Getting started

The Quick Account Setup feature allows you to get started using KidzChorz with just a few keystrokes.

The Advanced Account Setup feature allows you to configure every detail of your KidzChorz account.


Chore Scheduling

Chore Scheduling ensures that your family is aware of the chores due for each kid on each day.

KidzChorz uses a weekly period for a set of chores for each kid, which starts on Monday and ends on Sunday. The app will find all chores due on each weekday based on the specified Period Start Date (KidzChorz will automatically modify any entered start date to the closest Monday).

To set up chore scheduling:

  1. Start by creating activities (or choosing from a template list) and applying the appropriate activity type (Chore, Demerit or Achievement).
  2. For chores, determine if that chore is:
    • ‘Scheduled’ (chores which need doing regularly on a specific day or date.)
    • ‘Not Scheduled’ (chores only done once in a while, for example ‘Helping Dad Clean Garage’.)
    • ‘Extra Credit’.
  3. Finally, apply Frequency, AutoNag and Demerit settings to Scheduled Chores.

For scheduled chores, KidzChorz uses a frequency system where you determine if the chore will be scheduled Daily, Weekly, Monthly or Yearly during the chore set up. You can change the frequency at any time by editing the chore.

For example, ‘Doing Homework ‘or ‘Feeding The Dog’ would be done most weekdays while ‘Cleaning Bedroom’ may be done only once a week. There could also be chores required on a specific day of the month, such as ‘Back Up Your iPad’, or on a specific day of the year, such as ‘Help clean out garage’ just prior to Christmas.

Note that if a regular chore is performed later or earlier than scheduled, KidzChorz will ask if you’d like to change the date it’s next set to be done.

Based on the settings you choose, the chores will be included in any upcoming period, automatically, week after week until you specify otherwise.

Once a kid logs into KidzChorz from iPad, the opening screen is set to the list of chores due on that day. Kids can view the entire week’s chores, as well as any other created week’s set of chores.

You also have the option of printing the week’s Chore Schedule. Printable schedules are emailed as a PDF attachment to both you and your kid, and you can then print the schedule from your computer.


AutoNag

If there’s one feature that makes KidzChorz shine comparative to traditional chore planner charts, this is it. Welcome to the revolution that is AutoNag, and farewell to the burden of nagging your kids – KidzChorz will do it on your behalf.

Setting up AutoNag involves a few considerations:

  1. First, you’ll need to specify how you want each kid to receive reminder messages – either by email, iMessage and/or text.
  2. Next, you’ll need to specify which chores will have reminder messages sent and when you want them to be delivered.
  3. You can also do the same for completion confirmation messages. For example, you could have a reminder message set for delivery 2 days prior to the day the chore is to be performed, and a completion confirmation message sent 1 day after the ‘due date’. Note that in order for AutoNag to work, each chore reminder or completion message sent must have a designated time and date for completion.
    AutoNag messages are plain in nature, and simply state that a chore is due – along with a description of the chore requirements and potential penalties for late or non-completion.

    KidzChorz also has a master AutoNag on/off switch, which will override all set reminder messages if (for example) you’re going away on holiday.


Currency and simulated banking

KidzChorz uses an artificial currency to value each chore or achievement called ‘Credits’ – 
making it a chore and pocket money app in one!

You can decide what value each credit has in real currency. The default value is 1 credit equals 1 New Zealand Dollar (NZD), but this conversion factor can easily be altered (and can even be different for each kid). You then pay out your kids’ earned credits in a way that works for you – for example by giving them cash, purchasing an item they want, paying a cell phone bill, etc.

When your kids find something they want, they can easily see the number of credits required to obtain it in real currency, giving them the ability to earn what’s important to them.

The accounting system in KidzChorz gives kids simulated experience in transferring funds, paying bills and purchasing items in a manner similar to modern-day internet banking.

All credit (or demerit) earnings are posted into the kid’s Checking Account. It is up to the child to transfer money to other accounts as they desire. This gives them the ability to strategise their finances by keeping a high savings balance and minimising loan balances.
The concept of interest is also introduced to your kids in this simplified accounting module. You have the ability to specify the interest you will pay for credits in Savings, or interest you will charge for Loans. These interest rates can be different for each kid if you choose. Interest is paid or charged on the first day of each month, and is calculated by:

(number of days since last interest paid)/365 X (interest rate) X (average account balance during period since last paid date).

A few key points:

  • You can create multiple savings or loan accounts but only one checking account.
  • You can transfer funds from any account to any other account (including loan accounts)
  • Kids cannot transfer funds from a loan account (requesting more credits), but they can use credits to pay off a loan account.
  • Making purchases by redeeming funds can only be done from the Checking Account – just like in most modern day banks.

For example: if a kid wants to redeem cash of $25, and has 50 credits in savings and 5 credits in the Checking Account, they’d need to transfer enough credits into Checking to cover the cash redemption request. Assuming that 1 credit equals 1 dollar, the kid would transfer 20 credits to Checking to cover the transaction.

Access to Credits

When a kid has enough credits for cash or a reward, they need to ask you for it. This process is termed ‘Redeem Credits’.
Once the kid has redeemed the required credits for the desired cash, a message will be sent to your KidzChorz Message Center and your specified email address. You should then honour the request, and note the completion of the request in the Message Center to clear it.

Adding Outside Funds

Outside funds (for example, birthday money) can easily be added to KidzChorz’ banking, giving kids the ability to ‘store’ all their funds in one place and quickly see how much they’ve accumulated.

To add outside funds:

  1. Select the ‘Add Other Funds’ button.
  2. Complete the prompted form to specify where the money came from and how much is to be introduced.
  3. KidzChorz will then convert the cash total into credits and add it to the balance.
  4. Finally, a message will be sent to your KidzChorz Message Center requesting acknowledgement. You need to confirm the introduction of funds before the transaction will go through.

Motivational earning and penalties

Because some chores are really important and need to be done on time, KidzChorz emphasises urgency!

KidzChorz uses a demerit system to ensure vital chores (for example, ‘Feed the Dog’, or ‘Do Homework’) are completed in a timely manner.

By turning on the ‘Apply Demerits’ switch for a scheduled chore, you can set conditions for applying demerits.

You can also excuse demerits when processing chores based on special circumstances – for example, ‘Child Sick’ or ‘No School’. This option will be given for all chores with the ‘Apply Demerits’ setting switched on.


Chore Processing

More than just a chore chart app, KidzChorz enables you and your kids to keep track of chore completions and timeframes. You can set it up so your kids also have the ability to check off their own chores.

Processing a scheduled chore takes into consideration three possible conditions:

1. Completed on Time

When a chore is processed as ‘On Time’, that kid’s Checking Account balance will be increased by the credit value of the chore.

2. Completed Late

If the chore is processed as ‘Completed Late’, you will be prompted to enter a date completed. Then, based on the ‘Apply Demerits’ setting for that chore, you have the ability to Apply or Excuse the demerits applicable for the date completed. If you choose to excuse the demerits, you will be prompted to select an excuse from a drop down list of entries that you set up.

You have the ability to modify the excuse options at any time in the Settings section. You also have the ability to modify the demerit value from the set value during the chore processing area if you desire. The earned credits and earned demerits (if any) will then be applied to the kid’s checking account instantly.

3. Not Completed.

A chore processed as ‘Not Completed’ will prompt you to confirm the ‘Apply Demerits’ settings and adjust or excuse demerit value. If the chore ‘Apply Demerits’ setting is switched to off, the chore will be processed as ‘Not Completed’ without a prompting window.

Who Can Process a Chore?

As a kid learns the merits of responsibility, you can choose whether or not to give the child ‘Trusted Kid’ status. A Trusted Kid has the clearance to self monitor the completion of chores (with the exception of demerit excuses) without your intervention.

Kids that are not Trusted Kids can still process their own chores, but you must verify the processing status before any credits will be applied to the kid’s checking account.

Regardless of who processed a chore, you have the ability to change or edit the processing status at any time.

Extra Credit Chores, Achievements and Demerits

  • ‘Extra Credit’ chores are jobs kids can complete that go above and beyond their normal household duties (such as cleaning the garage, or weeding the garden).
  • ‘Achievements’ are credits given for reaching long-term goals that deserve rewarding (such as getting an A on their school report card).
  • They can also be awarded for short-term goals or for ‘going the extra mile’.
  • ‘Demerits’ are credit deductions made when a child fails to complete important chores on time.

During any week of chore processing, you have the ability to include Extra Credit chores, Achievements and Demerits by selecting an option from the ‘Add Not Listed’ or ‘+’ icon.

From here, you have the option of selecting from a list of stored Chores, Achievements or Demerits and applying credits or demerits. You can also create a new Chore, Achievement or Demerit and then follow the prompts to include the newly added item for future use, if you wish.

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