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The Choreminder

Amber Davis
CMR Enterprises

2810 Log Avenue
Sheldon, IA 51201

The Choreminder is an organized box designed to encourage your children to complete their assigned chores, and then reward them accordingly. The Choreminder Pack includes the boxed Choreminder, RewardBox Stickers, and a Coupon Book. An adequate six inches tall, 11 inches long, and 1 ½ inch deep box organizes the components available for the child, while an additional removable portion of the box transforms into an opened top box to hold unused portions of the system for parents. The Choreminder box itself is free standing, or can be magnetically mounted to a refrigerator or other chosen area with the included magnetic strips. The box includes 50 chore cards, 15 reward tickets, 4 blank cards, and an instruction booklet. The entire Choreminder box can be purchased separately, or as part of a kit with the stickers and coupon booklet. The stickers and coupon booklet are not required in order to use the system, but offer flexibility in planning and use. Designed by a homeschooling mom for 4 to 12 year old children, the system helps families with motivation toward responsibility, completing family duties, and increased self confidence. The card contents arrive securely rubber banded inside a small Ziploc® bag, along with the magnetic strips and a small instructional brochure. The product is ideal for encouraging children to complete necessary tasks parents want to instill as habits, and leaves the reward portion at the discretion of parents. The chore cards include self-help/personal care tasks (brush teeth, get to bed early), household chores (clean dining room, sweep floor), more individual chores (put shoes away, feed the dog), and even educational chores (practice instrument, load backpack) so that many aspects of responsibility are available depending on the need of the family and situation.

The directions for The Choreminder instruct parents to choose chores for the child who will use the system. Parents place planned tasks in the “chores to do” pocket, the child or parent moves completed tasks into the “chores I’ve done” pocket, and center reward tickets are issued as determined by parents. The system is open-ended, allowing parents to determine the reward components, the required tasks, and even the type of task. The “Rewards” explanation in the brochure is something I encourage every parent to read, as it makes very good points that are important to stress to our children. First, the importance of completing a job and doing it well. Second, there is a reward in the sense of accomplishment enjoyed when moving a card from one pocket to the completed pocket. The third reward is at the end of the day when, together, parent and child will check to see whether all tasks were completed and issue a Reward Ticket into the center slot on The Choreboard when they have been completed. Shifting all of the “chores I’ve done” cards back over to the “chores to do” slot in preparation for the next day makes the day complete. The included Reward cards contain encouraging messages: “You are Outstanding,” “Job Well Done,” “You Are a Wonderful Son!,” “You are a Winner,” or “You are a Super Star,” are all part of the included cards that have different bright colors on the message side and one coordinating yellow on the other side. Once five reward cards, or however many your family chooses, have been accumulated, a reward of choice may be issued for the responsible child. The optional coupon book provides various rewards many families will enjoy, including: 30 minutes of video game time, one book purchase at the bookstore, a video rental, a sleepover, or our son’s favorite--stay up one hour past regular bed time! We found an ideal use of the coupon booklet is to keep everything intact and just allow the child to flip through and choose their reward. The optional stickers package, “”RewardBox stickers,“ will allow families to choose a box from home of adequate size for your chosen reward items and then decorate it. The stickers coordinate perfectly with the reward cards, including the statements of encouragement and colors used on the reward tickets. Suggested reward items include new crayons, chalk, jacks, or other small toys your children will enjoy. Appropriate for use in any family, whether homeschooling or not, The Choreminder is ideal for children between four and twelve years old, but is definitely adaptable to younger or older children and is fantastic for special needs children.

I am beginning to believe that many homeschooler designed products available today seem to scream out that their design was born from the ever imaginative minds of those knee-deep in homeschooling. The Choreminder is another thoughtful design that can fill a need in busy homeschool homes. We decided to utilize the system with our nine year old, special needs, pdd, autism spectrum son. The inclusion of cards for brushing teeth, both in the morning and at night, hair brushing, even bathing, was an excellent opportunity for us to place more responsibility on him for those tasks. The program offers immediate reminders for visual children as they flip through the cards, or “chores to do,” for the day and are reminded of what, for some other children, may be automatic tasks, and are given more responsibility in being sure to complete them. Our younger son joined in the fun with a few of the easiest tasks, at three years old he barely talks, but he understood getting the mail and putting shoes away, just as most children will. I also enjoyed the fact that the system allows us to more regularly recognize tasks that they were completing, although inconsistently, therefore increasing the consistency while adding recognition for the child. Our three year old regularly gets the mail, which is dropped right into our front door, but we’ve never routinely applauded him for doing so. By solidifying a task as his own, it instills responsibility while offering ownership. He was thrilled to learn that his regular help is a part of helping our home run smoothly! The RewardBox stickers are adorable, but in a creative mindset, we chose to decorate an additional chore box of our own design so that our younger son could take part in a simpler version of the process. The flexibility allowed by the stickers is as broad as an imagination, as one could design an incredibly simple pocket chart and place chore cards as desired, or decorate different reward boxes for different children. You might even use stickers in a favorite catalog and mark items being worked toward as rewards; the possibilities really are endless. We liked the idea of a simple reward box filled with small items our children enjoy, this is a wonderful place to gather all cereal box trinkets, various party favors, or special candy to be used as rewards. The design of The Choreminder box itself is absolutely incredible as the top portion of the box breaks away to reveal the pocketed box for use by the system, with a few tucked tabs you find an additional box for storage of unused chore cards and the coupon book. Very creative!

If you haven’t noticed, I love The Choreminder and the versatility it offers for children of various ages. Older children can assist younger children as they learn the concepts and the entire family can reap the benefits of becoming a well oiled machine of household management. The down-side? The system actually has to be used. Seriously, this box will not help a family if allowed to sit in a corner collecting dust. The concept will not motivate your children if you have not gone through every aspect of the rewards you want to work toward, if there are any. Some families will want the reward tickets to be reward enough, which is fine. Perhaps your family will have a special dance for each reward card, that Mom or Dad will happily do when chores are completed, whatever motivates your family within your personal expectations and belief system is fine. The Choreminder will blend well into most families, rewards need not be monetary, tangible, or anything more than the satisfaction of tasks completed. Somehow we have already begun to scuff up our box a bit, so I wish it was a little more durable, as we will send the idea through at least two more children, but it is a glossy finished cardboard that will withstand normal use adequately.

Every busy family works well when the household chores are shared, and certainly every growing child matures best when learning responsibility is as easy as possible. The various chore cards included in The Choreminder allow families with special needs children to focus on self-care tasks, children heading to school buildings to be organized in the process, families to share duties in any household, and for children to gain confidence as they share in the responsibility of running a home. The bright colors and fantastic design lends the box and included items to motivating children more readily than most mothers usual attempts at a list of chores, checkmarks, and smiley faces. I appreciate that the creator understands families have differing opinions on the use of rewards and an appropriate system and has designed a system that will leave decisions in the hands of parents, where they should be. The bright green and yellow colors used predominantly throughout the components make the item gender-neutral and fairly acceptable in most living rooms, kitchens, or family rooms where they may be displayed. A fun way for children to gain ownership of the responsibilities they have in their homes, and a great way for parents to turn over that responsibility rather than resorting to completing things on our own, The Choreminder happily fulfills needs on both sides. More than a simple to-do list, and definitely not a blatant reward system filled with gadgets and dollars, this program will easily adapt into any family and will increase the overall level of responsibility of every family member.

—Product review by: Donna Campos, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2008.

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