Gamification at home – every one is a winner every day!

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Have you been struggling trying to figure out how to motivate (or just make them do it!) your kids to help out more and be responsible?  I have – a lot… and also given up lots of times, finding my self doing “everything” myself when every one else are enjoying TV or games instead. Being bitter is not my cup of tea – I’d rather try to come up with a cunning plan…

Gamification at home - the cunning plan.Gamification at home – the most cunning plan.

Last week I started a free gamification online course on https://www.coursera.org/course/gamification. the course was really engaging and had a great setup with short 3-12 min videos. In most videos there are one question you need to answer to proceed. After watching 10 videos or so I did the exam for that first week of the course, and had a score of 100%. It was a really fun and easy way to gain new knowledge.

In one of the videos the teacher Kevin Werbach gave me an assignment  to list all the things I could come up with that are gamification in real life. Gamification is when there are some kind of rules, you play the game voluntarily and the game motivates you to do something or to change a behaviour and you get some kind of prize if you succeed. There could also be a use of game-like features like points, prizes, badges, assignments, leader boards, teams or avatars.

I did have some problem seeing where this could apply at first… but then I saw a few examples. At work for example when they are starting competitions to motivate people to sell more, to work out more, or when they have “Employee of the month”, or in diet clubs like Weight Watchers  On all these occasions we usually find points, prizes, badges, teams, leader boards… So, yes they are all gamification of course.

We also learned how gamification was a powerful and fun way of changing behaviour. A game pull the player into a “circle” where the player feel joy which gives power to do things they otherwise might not do. This can of course be used for evil AND good purposes.

I started thinking about where I might could test this new knowledge. First I wrote a long email to my client about everything we could do with this in their business. Maybe something will come out of that – who knows. But after that I came to think about behavioural changes I would like to see at home… and I came up with a concept where all members would collect points when helping out with things I want help with, to be able to buy things they want with the points they collect. Hopefully this would motivated them to help out more at home.

I just wrote it down on two post-its to show my daughter Saga (10) when she came home. Guess if it was an instant success! She loved the idea of being able to collect points, compete with the grown ups – and being able to “buy” Friday snacks, Saturday candy and weekly allowance (all of which she was given for free before!).

I am totally amazed with the engagement this created! We all sat together and created the list of what should give points.

Actions that give points:
Set the table before dinner 1p
Cook dinner 1p
Clean after dinner 1p
Go to school 1p
Work 1p
Walk the dog 1p
Clean the cat box 1p
Do homework (minimum 20min) 1p
Clean out the room 1p
Vacuum-clean 1p
Throw out the garbage 1p
Water the flowers 1p
Washing the car 1p
Doing laundry 2p
Ironing 1p
… and more.

And a list of what we could buy for these points, things that we would like to have or do.

Prizes:
Friday snacks 5p
Saturday candy 5p
Weekly allowance (20kr) 5p
Watch TV 5p

Gamification at home - when it is fun to do boooring things

Both my husband and my 10 year old are obsessed with this now competing with each other, setting up their collected points as soon as they get home 🙂 And when we where shopping groceries for Friday dinner I asked Saga what she would like for dinner, “Meatballs – because then I can make dinner and collect the points!”. I have never seen such a result in such a short time!

There are also plans on creating avatars to put on each players box on the board, and to have a trophy for “player of the week” 😉

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10 thoughts on “Gamification at home – every one is a winner every day!

  1. I am have been thinking about gamifying my todo list. I think your system hits the sweet point. The tasks need to be done anyhow, so gamifying them won’t decrease motivation. You also have healthy competition built in.

    Thanks for sharing this. You just might inspire me.

  2. Have you seen http://www.chorewars.com/ that implements something like this?

    Also, I don’t have so much gamification experience myself, but just like Susan I’m also considering the motivation factor.

    Isn’t there a risk that she will not help out with anything unless she gets points for doing it? Or stops doing chores because she has collected enough points for snacks, candy, allowance and TV watching?

    1. Hi David,

      that site was new to me. I did’t log in so Im not sure exactly what they offered. About our litle game, we only started last week, and she is still very exited about the game. Mentioning it several times a day (latest this morning at breakfast), saying things that se really loves it because it gets her benefits. It really seems that se think that she gets more benefits now than before – even though thats not really true. The games gives her a feeling of control, feedback, recognition and choices of what to do with her points. All of witch are important components in gamification 🙂 We named the game the “Win WIn game” yesterday, and she got the first “WinWin of the week” badge 😉 She actually collected 35 points in only 5 days while I had only 15 😉 If wyou are trying this you could offcourse add points for what ever you think are good things to do, and set the value to what you want and have what ever prizes you want. Hopefully you can find a relation between actions and winnings that works for you. We also added bonus points for exellent work – and good deeds… so its focusing on the over all behaviour.

    2. David, I don’t think there’s such a risk 🙂

      First, no one likes to loose. So even after collecting “enough points” for one week, kids want to collect another for next week, plus they don’t want others to be better and have more TV/snacks or whatever 🙂 Second, it’s important to explain kids that we all want to eat dinner and live in a clean house that smells nice, and that someone has to do it anyway, with or without points. Points help in keeping harmony in doing nothing and doing chores, they’re addition to motivation, not motivation itself. The main goal is to make everyone happy 🙂

      Mia, thanks for inspiration, we’re doing gamification of house chores with my fiance and it really works! Greetings from Poland 🙂

      PS. Sorry for my English, I know it’s not perfect, I hope you understood 🙂

    1. *LOL* Thank you Christopher! Offcourse we use the responsibility process, its a great tool for family as well as work 🙂

  3. Hi you know you just saved us.
    We started a gamification 1 month an half and we just appreciate to have a couple life again.
    I don’t yell anymore, It’s just hapiness. MANY THANKS Alexandra mother of Eris 3 years Hélios 5 and Sélène 7

    1. Hi Alexandra! Glad to hear you have tried it and that it works for you too 🙂 Hope it evolves and makes your family continue with this type of fun and interresting experiments.

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