Whenever we're faced with challenges, it's important to identify and focus on the silver linings. And I hope for all parents the increased time with your kids at home, as schools close to enforce social distancing, can be a gift.
When it comes to homeschooling in the current climate, most parents have their work cut out dealing with challenging financial situations, adjusting to remote working (if you’re lucky enough to have a job that accommodates that), and in some worst cases dealing with redundancy.
Taking this thinking into account, I created a project on our platform Task a few months ago, that I could involve my kids in - and get their brains working. At the time I had not foreseen the upcoming lockdown but this project has been more useful than I could have anticipated.
Pocket Money - all carrot, no stick
My two kids are 11 years old - and I wanted to use our platform as a means to gamify earning pocket money. I’m keen to reward the right types of activity to earn pocket money, and Task gives me two useful options:
When the kids complete an activity, they earn tokens (I called mine POKO - more on that later). For ‘everyday’ activities such as washing the dishes, I reward them a nominal amount of tokens. Whereas for optional activities that I am keen to encourage participation, such as environmental actions or spending extra time learning coding, I pay ‘overtime’ rates.
When the kids want to ‘redeem’ their tokens for real money - I created a few different options in the Task wallet for them. Yes, they can exchange tokens for cash, but if they choose to put that cash into their savings account I’d give them a much better exchange rate.
Far from feeling draconian, embedding these incentives became a source of useful conversation. I’m transparent with my kids as to why I think they should get ahead with computer coding, and how saving money and avoiding debt is the right thing to do.
I created a Stellar Blockchain Token called POKO to use with the project. I then gave each token a value of $0.02. My aim is for the kids to earn $6-8 per week if they get the normal stuff done like doing the laundry - but to let them increase their earnings if they choose to utilise their free time to learn new coding skills!
Consequently I set up a range of activities that supported this strategy, so that they should be earning upwards of 350 POKO tokens per week.
Don’t worry if the sound of blockchain is breaking you out into a cold sweat - if you’d like some POKO tokens to use with your kids, we’ll set them up and provide them to you for free!
How this can work for you
We’ve made it easy for you to set this up and use in your own household - with a free Task account! The steps you need to follow are:
Follow our setup guide that walks you through how to setup your Task account and make a copy of my Pocket Money project for your own use
Have a think about the rewards you want to offer your kids - cash, saving incentives, mobile phone top up, donations - with varying exchange rates
Invite your kids into the project and let them get tracking!
In a world where smartphone usage continues to increase, it's vital that some of that e-time is put to good use. Add to that fact, your kids are going to be spending a lot more time at home in the coming weeks, and the need to direct their energy in ways that supports the team in the house makes all of this more important.
When you develop software, there is the expression that “you should eat your own dog food” - meaning to use the product you’ve created yourself. Using Task to manage the pocket money of my kids has provided that opportunity, and I can honestly say the results have been great.