Children love games. They hate making up the bed. Ten years ago, these two would have in their own separate universe. Today, they have been combined into an interesting mix that tries to bring about positive change in kids and families in a fun way. Ditch the long lectures on doing household chores if you are a parent. Instead motivate them through games and positive actions. This is the mantra of HighScore House.
HighScore House (beta) is an online gaming/mobile interface at its core, but it is also a tool in the hands of busy parents to reward their kids for a job well done. Through fun, the game hopes to change behavior and bring in good habits.
Let’s see an overview of HighScore House and the reasons that could make this game a part of every family’s toolkit.
A Walk through HighScore House
HighScore House uses a reward system for encouraging good behavior and habits in children. You might say that it amounts to bribery, and wrong way of teaching responsibility. The developers at HighScore House don’t think so, and they have answered this in a blog entry of theirs – When Rewards go Wrong: Bribing.
Okay, with that argument out of the way let’s sign-up and enter the virtual house. The sign-up has multiple steps, where you set up your account with little details (name, nickname) about yourself, number of children, and a name for your online house. I called mine ‘Treehouse’ because I always wanted to live in one.
A ‘Super-secret-parent-pin’ is set by you which is basically your key to the house so that you can set up rewards, tasks, and other settings. If your browser tab is inactive, the game will timeout and you will need the pin to re-enter the house each time.
As a parent, the Parent Dashboard is like a living room from where you control the entire house. You can set up new rewards and assign them to particular tasks. You can also become a better parent by reading parenting articles and watching videos. Also, bring in other parents into your fold by inviting them from the dashboard.
Creating Tasks and Rewards for Your Children
The first time you sign into the web app, you are taken step by step through the process of creating new tasks and attaching appropriate rewards to them. You can also do it later from the Parent Dashboard. Common daily tasks can be anything your children do from the time they wake up – brushing their teeth, making the bed, go to bed without fighting etc.
Rewards? Look at the screen below for some ideas:
Here’s how the Create A New Task screen looks like:
You set up schedules and stars for each task. Children perform the tasks and earn the stars. The earned stars unlock the gifts which you have promised them, like a trip to the movies.
Your children can enter their virtual room and check out their rewards. But only if they mark that they have completed the chores given to them. Next, the children can choose to save their reward for something bigger or ‘buy’ a gift with the points they have accumulated. This step is important because it can teach kids to delay gratification and help them plan out a bigger reward later.
Tracking Your Child (Or Children)
The above screenshot gives you a single glance glimpse of all that your child has managed to do – The Activity Stream is the record of all tasks versus rewards. You can add more tasks and rewards here. Then, you can also award bonus points to your child for any job well done.
HighScore House Could Be Your Complete Child Management Aid
The game works on a simple premise of rewarding good behavior. Such behavior repeated consistently creates good habits. You as a parent can tweak HighScore House by setting up your own rewards and tasks and the blog has loads of ideas on that. For instance, you can break up a large chore into smaller bits and award stars based on each small step. Then again, you can award more stars if the task is done in a record time. Be realistic with tasks and creative with rewards. Make sure the family joins in the fun.
HighScore House is in beta and is a Canadian startup that’s free for now. You can also use the iOS app that’s available in the App store. Join in and let us know how it works for you and your family. Do you like the concept of chore charts for kids? Or do you think that your kid with a short attention span will soon tire of it?
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