Yippee! One of my Twitter friends is going to share how she took the agony and misery of household work and children (aka “chores”) and turned it into a game!
The Video Game That Helped Me
Win the War on Housework
There’s one in every crowd. The one that can’t stand it when there are dirty socks on the floor, dishes in the sink and cat hair on the couch. The one that (literally) dances when it’s time to vacuum. The one that shows up at their kids’ school with a toilet brush in one hand and a bottle of Pine Sol in the other.
That one does not live at my house.
I Can’t Say I HATE Housework…
…but it’s definitely not at the top of my to-do list at the end of a busy day. An opinion unfortunately shared by my husband and my kids, which means that while I don’t have to twist anyone’s arm to kick back and celebrate on Friday night, bunnies have absolutely nothing on the breeding habits of my laundry pile.
A few dirty dishes and the occasional eight load laundry day don’t really bother me. Running out of cups, plates, socks and underwear over and over again does. So does stepping on things in the middle of the night. (Especially sharp things that you’ll swear weren’t there an hour before. Computers have NOTHING on the savvy of a Hot Wheels car at2 am.) About the time I realized we were carefully picking and choosing the days the kids could have friends over to correspond with a semi-clean house, my husband did something wonderful.
He discovered a video game.
You will never hear me say those words with that precise level of glee again. Why? Because I am a non-gamer in a household full of them. I play an hour of Mario a month and figure that’s more than enough. But because everyone else in this looney bin thrives on Wizard 101 and World of Warcraft and Crayon Physics (my personal favorite), this new system was perfect.
The Chore Wars Were On!
Imagine this. You’re on a valiant quest to rescue the princess, loot the gold and…slay the laundry cat? Thanks to Chore Wars, that’s pretty much a way of life around here these days. Except the laundry cat’s more black fur and small teeth and wants-to-play-tug-of-war-with-the-socks than giant man-eating monster, and the princess is cleverly disguised as an empty dryer. But the fat loots are very, very real.
Here’s How It Works
With Chore Wars (www.chorewars.com), your DM (Dungeon Master, of sorts) assigns a specific XP value (experience points) to each task. Cleaning a room, feeding the beasts, looting the litter box and participating freely and without complaint in the ritual of cleansing (tubby time!) all add XP to your characters. As you gain XP you level up, acquire new items, grind your brother/sister/spouse/mother/father/child into the ground and, most importantly, accumulate gold that you can cash in for real world rewards.
You, the parent, get to decide what that gold will be worth. 200 gold pieces could be cashed in for an ice cream dessert, 1,000 gold pieces could be worth a trip to the movies. Whatever you decide, the promise of future rewards and the immediate gratification of watching their score go up is enough to keep everyone on the straight and narrow. The game itself is free, with optional upgrades if you feel so inclined. And those eight load laundry days are few and far between.
Best of all? Chores that regularly landed in my lap, like folding laundry, running the vacuum and finding the downstairs carpet underneath the daily rubble, have been picked up by my husband and the kids on a nightly basis. There are days when mom’s actually losing the war.
Defeat never tasted so sweet.
Someone was pretty smart. Something tells me it was a mom. Let us know what you think!
Renee Malove is a copywriter, a fiction fanatic, a blogger, a jogger, a mother of three and a lunatic, usually all at the same time! When not waging the never-ending war against the dishes, the laundry and a driveway that refuses to shovel itself in the middle of a New York winter, she can usually be found curled up on the couch with a book and a cat or out on the web at http://www.clever-copywriting.com.