I stumbled upon the Hire and Fire Your Kids app at a point in Covid-life where our household felt like it was spiraling out of control. My kids, ages 8 and 11, hadn’t set foot in a school in five months; we had lost all semblance of routine and structure; and my house was constantly littered with dishes, toys and clothing because we were hardly ever leaving it.
I tried regaining control with a chore list stuck to the fridge. That didn’t work, and neither did reminding or nagging my kids to do their chores. The only time chores were completed was when I got angry or threatened to take away their screen time, which was an awful system.
Enter Hire and Fire Your Kids (HFK), an app that motivates kids to do chores and meet behavior expectations through “recognition, reward and consequence.” In short, kids earn money for doing chores and following household rules and values. After showing them the app, my kids were excited about earning money in a way that felt fun, and I was excited to stop yelling at them to clean up or be nice to each other. We dove in.
Once downloaded, the app prompted me to create my own lists of chores and expectations or import ready-to-use versions that I could modify. I found HFK’s lists were on-point with everyday chores and expectations for kids of various ages, and I had the lists imported and customized to my family in minutes.
Once the app was set up, it provided me with a message to email or text my kids so they could install the app on their own device. This was a cinch for my daughter, who had just been gifted my old iPhone. It was trickier for my son, who was using a Kindle Fire and didn’t have a personal email address or phone number, but by using the app’s free website, we quickly got him set up, too. HFK is available and usable on any device you or your children may have, and your kids don’t have to have a phone number or email address, it just makes it easier if they do.
The first few weeks of using the Hire and Fire Your Kids app were amazing. I didn’t have to say a single word to my kids about doing chores. They went right into the app on their devices, selected the chores they’d be doing and then did them! I also loved the Expectations List, which includes things like “Turn out the lights when leaving a room,” something my son has been working on for months. Each time he forgot, I selected the ‘warning’ icon and a message was sent to his device. After receiving four warnings, he missed out on incentives, like opportunities to earn more money and become Employee of the Month.
The app strongly encourages families to hold weekly meetings to hand out earned money and discuss warnings and recognitions, which we did. It was a really positive experience where everyone had time to bask in their praise or talk through chores and behaviors that needed improving.
I found only a few drawbacks to HFK, the first being that it requires kids to be on a screen, which is something we have pretty strict rules around in our house. That being said, the time it takes for kids to check in with the app is minimal, and we allowed a few minutes each morning and evening for our kids to check their progress and chores. The only time the app became less effective was when my kids’ piggy banks were full. After receiving birthday and graduation money, my daughter’s motivation to do chores disappeared. This is when the Expectations List became really handy, because doing a few chores a week became an expectation, and if she didn’t do them, there was a consequence. You can also change the app over to a point system versus dollar system and have kids earn experiences instead of money.
As with everything in parenting, consistency is key and that’s true when using this app, as well. We had to stay consistent in sending our kids warnings or recognitions, paying them for chores and bonuses, and enforcing designated consequences.
I loved that the Hire and Fire Your Kids app eliminated the need to nag or remind my kids to complete their chores or fulfill our household expectations. It encouraged my kids to be responsible and accountable with minimal effort on my end. I would absolutely recommend the Hire and Fire Your Kids app to anyone struggling to get kids more engaged with household responsibilities, be they helping to pick up or just being kind to each other. Hire and Fire Your Kids is a really useful, sanity-saving tool for parents to have in their arsenal.