Not a Music Ed Tech Item – iAllowance

As the title of this post suggests, this is not a Music Education Technology item.  I would like to write a short review of iAllowance, an app I purchased for our family, with the hopes of creating more peace in our household.  I imagine that there might be other parents–some of them music educators–that could use an app like iAllowance as much as we did.

I have an eleven-year-old stepson and a three-year-old son.  The three-year-old isn’t doing chores yet, but the eleven-year-old hasn’t been, either (1).  My stepson splits time–literally–between our house and his dad’s house.  As you could probably guess, each house has different rules and a different approach to life.  We’ve had a difficult time getting my stepson to do nearly anything at our house, and all our prior attempts–from bribery to loss of privileges–have been met with continual struggle.  I think that getting kids to do chores in general is probably hard–working things out with a step-family only complicates issues further.

I turned to my iPad for help and found iAllowance.  iAllowance is a chore/allowance app that allows parents (and multiple children) to create and track assigned chores, payment, multiple payment accounts per child (e.g. categories lieke spending money, savings, and charity/tithe), and to track expenditures.  Additionally, you can authorize interest payments (or penalties), track the accounts over multiple devices through Dropbox syncing, and calculate payment in multiple currencies.  Several different screen views are offered so you can view summaries, a job list, or each individual element.  iPods of children can be setup so as to allow them to see balances and chore lists, but not to be able to change the core data (parents have to check off finished jobs so the children can be paid).

I was done fighting over chores but not willing to give up on chores (2).  This app allows your child to see the specific chores assigned by day, to see the immediate rewards of finishing chores, and with multiple accounts, to learn how to save and give to others at the same time (we stress 10% savings, 10% charity/tithe, and 80% savings, although I could certainly agree with parents that stress 15% or 20% savings).

The app works incredibly well, and has inspired our eleven-year-old to do his chores.  He is also quite thrilled to check off the chores that he has completed.  Granted, this is still our first week with the app, but this level of involvement on the part of my stepson is already a huge improvement.

I contacted the developer with a couple of questions I couldn’t find answered in his FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), and he responded very quickly.  I’m happy to report that customer support for iAllowance is top notch.

Do you battle over chores with your children?  Do you want to help them to become self-sufficient and not depend on your prompting?  Do you want to teach them how to save and to give?  Do you want them to be able see how they’ve earned their money and how they’ll spend it?  Do your children have their own iPod Touches or iPhones or iPads that would allow them to be able to review their chores and accounts at any time?  If so, check out iAllowance for $3.99.  I’ve often said that the $10 I spent for UnrealBook and ForScore have changed my life as a high school choir director.  The $4.00 I spent for iAllowance may very well change my life as a stepparent and (as my three-year-old grows older) as a parent (3).

(1) I should mention that for the five-or-so years my wife and I have been married, chores have been a struggle throughout that period.  My wife and I have been diligent in trying, but generally unsuccessful to this point.  Completed chores have usually resulted in family members getting angry along the way–even for the “easy” chores.  A better system was drastically needed in our household.

(2) If you are curious, we’re not asking our stepson to do a ton of work (in other words, he’s not Cinderella).  He’ll be doing these things for a weekly allowance of up to $9.00, depending on what he does.  Specifically:

  • Clean the toilet bowls with the magic wand on Fridays
  • Put away the dishes from the dishwasher (daily)
  • Do homework (daily when applicable)
  • Make his bed in the morning (daily)
  • Brush his teeth (daily, should be 2x daily)
  • Close his bedroom door during the day (otherwise the three-year-old gets in and has a joyous time)
  • Bring down his dirty clothes to the laundry room (daily)
  • Wear back his clothes from our house from his dad’s house (once a week)

Of course, the list is open to revision as conditions warrant.  Additional (non-repetitive) chores can be handled for in iAllowance, too.

(3) Doesn’t the iAllowance icon make you happy?  I think of Hamm (voiced by John Ratzenberger) in the Toy Story series.


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