Everybody hates the Chore List. None more so than the one that has to make it. No matter what chore list I set up, the whining commences, followed by the labor disputes. Any attempts to point out that the effort expended to avoid the chores is three times the effort it would have taken to just get the socks picked up falls on deaf ears. Yet these housekeeping, repetitive tasks call to us (or at least, my kids) with a siren song if they’re made of pixels and on a computer. So here are five simple things to create a chore list in the context your video-game hound kids will respond to:

  • Include Storyline Quests – Nobody likes to pick up the socks thrown around after a ball game. But some junior dictators-in-training will have a better attitude about rounding up Citizen Socks for elections between the striped and plain parties to see who’s next up for Prime Minister Sockpuppet, then holding an inaguration ceremony in the laundry room.
  • Mix Your Skill Quests – When your character first starts out, you often gain XP just for standing upright. You might even gain a whole level when you figure out how to move in the right direction and open a door. Put some silly chores in the chore list and start the ball rolling for that endorphin boost we all get when we press the button and get the cheese.
  • Level Up Your Players – While your player runs through the game, they often receive items along the way in addition to the XP. Every so often, you find an epic drop from a low-level boss–a unique item or an enhanced collecting piece. Pretty soon, you have groups of players “farming” the boss, hoping for a bonus drop. Small rewards, like getting to put a sticker or stamp on a chore well done are their own little endorphin-burst of happiness, but every so often, change it up with a big reward and the chance of that big reward will improve the enthusiasm of your work force.
  • Give some freebies and create good habits – Players get rewarded more for playing through games in ways that make it fun–check the treasure box for traps, put some skill points in defense as well as offense, and protect your party healer and you come out with more loot, fewer character deaths, and better characters. Those bonus rewards will create a good feeling about what turns out to hopefully be a life-long habit, even if the game changes.
  • Create a Flashpoint or Heroic chore – Every adventurer needs a party, and while the AI henchmen do all right, it’s more fun to play in a group. My kids are natural hucksters anyway, and as soon as the chore lists come out, the wheeling and dealing starts. Engineer a group mission to get everyone’s participation in a chore that might feel too big to tackle alone.

Also, this is why I let my kids hack up cardboard boxes. You never know where the duct tape will lead you…

I write about quirky people finding their own ways of leveling up to happily ever after. My short contemporary romantic comedy, Forever Material, is about a Dating Diva who has to choose how much romantic baggage she’s going to hold onto when she meets the right kind of Mr. Wrong.

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She’s absolutely sure he’s not the marrying kind…

He’s absolutely sure she’s right…

But he’s still going to prove her wrong.

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