GCo Revisits The Gamification of Parenting

GCo Revisits The Gamification of Parenting



The weekend has come, and parents of young kids know what that means: no escape from the kids for two days! To help you manage we’re revisiting the concept of the gamification of parenting. The Huffington Post recently reported on a mom who designed her own gamification methods to ground her kids.

With her kids in trouble again, Lynette was determined to come up with a creative way for them to be grounded. She told her kids that they had to earn 500 points in order to become ungrounded. Then she provided them with a list of tasks and the point value they would earn when they completed a task.

The list included such tasks as watering house plants for 10 points, cleaning and washing the kitchen desk for 20 points, writing a nice letter to someone in the family for 10 points, preparing and cook dinner for 50 points or doing one load of laundry – wash, dry, fold and put away – for 100 points.

She reported that her son was able to earn his 500 points within a single day and her other two children are working on earning their points still.


Is Lynette onto something? By providing her kids with choirs to complete, Lynette made being grounded something that had a tangible consequence. Her kids did not just sit in their rooms for a few days, pretending to think about why they were grounded. Her kids probably did think about why they were grounded as they completed the tasks on the list.

Her list of “tasks” that they needed to complete in order to earn points also put her children in charge of how long they were grounded for. What parent has not heard how ‘unfair’ it is from their child that they are grounded? Or heard their kid ask for their punishment to end early? Lynette bypassed all that talk by putting the length of how long they were grounded in her kids’ hands.

Her method of grounding also provided an opportunity for her kids to think and reason. Her son decided that he only wanted to be grounded for a short time and went to work completing tasks in order to earn his 500 points. All of her kids had to create their own strategy for earning their 500 points – would they go just for big tasks with big points, a combination of a few big tasks and a few smaller tasks, or do all the smaller tasks because perhaps they thought they were quicker in order to earn their 500 points? Her method of grounding allowed her kids to strategize (and exercise their Math skills in the process).

Maybe Lynette just landed on a new niche, the gamification of parenting. Could it be coming to an app near you soon?


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  1. I absolutely love this. I’m going to talk to my wife about this tonight. I’ve got a 5 year old. The rules might need to be adjusted for a bit, but I think I could come up with something. I’ll post what ever I come up with.

  2. Really glad to see parents being more creative. However, there is a BIG problem with this method: gets kids to hate chores. Things that kids should grow up learning to incorporate into their lives constructively should not be used as punishments. This includes fitness (no extra laps in gym class), health (eat your broccoli if you want ice-cream) or chores.

    A much better way to do this is keep everything exactly the same, but reframe the language. Don’t say, “you were bad so now you are punished,” instead say, “you are expected to be a productive member of this family and as such, this is what you are expected to accomplish. Meeting these accomplishments grants you XYZ privileges, and not meeting expectations means the removal of privileges”.

    Now, the kids’ reward is tied to something much more emotionally healthy and tangible, and the parents don’t look like the bad guy for ‘punishing’ kids. Use the same point system to keep track of meeting expectations. Need to meet 500 points a day (or week, etc. depending on target and values for activities) in order to keep your privileges. For more explanation, see this blog post: http://impetusengagement.com/blog/2012/11/7/can-there-be-a-punishment-free-home-part-1.html