By Alix Norman
“Wouldn’t it be fun if I cleaned my room / made my bed / did the washing up?” said no child ever. “Wouldn’t it be fun if I remembered to brush my teeth, or put away my clothes or …” Yep, still in the realms of parental fantasy there. Until now, that is. Because a dynamic team of web developers, known as Funifi, have co-opted parents, psychologists and teachers into putting together an app that actually makes chores fun for children.
Lower those disbelieving eyebrows, please. Because it turns out there IS actually a way to get your kids to help around the house without that constant nagging that drives you both up the wall. And at the same time it’s going to make all those chores seem fun in a way that hasn’t been seen since Mary Poppins rode out of town on her umbrella. Because this is the digital age, and while a Spoonful of Sugar may have worked wonders for the Edwardians, these days we need something that will appeal to our plugged-in generation. And the answer, says George Vou, isFunifi Do, an app that teaches accountability through a platform that’s accessible and effective.
“It’s a massive step up from the star chart on the fridge,” says this young and dynamic member of the Funifi company. “We’re creating a platform that instils core behaviours in a child: responsibility and accountability through a points and rewards system. Basically,” he explains, “it’s an agreement between parent and child for the digital age, a way of simplifying the process of setting and rewarding chores by combining real world and virtual elements.”
In plain language, what this means is that both parents and children can benefit from an effective, fun-to-use system that plays to the current generation’s love of all things digital. “You download the app,” says George, “and then sit down together and set the tasks, deciding how many points each chore is worth and what the rewards will be. For instance, making the bed every day may be worth 50 points; doing the washing up could be 75; tidying their room 100. Then you set the rewards, which are completely personalised – tailored to your own particular choices.
So once 200 points, for example, have been collected – and approved by the parent! – the child can request one of the pre-agreed rewards. This could be a trip to the cinema,” suggests George, “or an extra hour before bedtime – anything you think is relevant.”
Simple to use, Funifi Do is already taking the world by storm, its stunning visuals, simple language and relatable characters proving a hit with petulant pre-teens everywhere. “Funifi Do is aimed mostly at the six to 10 age range,” George continues. “We regularly consult with child psychologists and teaching professionals to ensure the app is relevant and age appropriate. Many of the people on the Funifi team are parents themselves,” he adds, beaming with pride as he admits he’s just become a new father himself, “so we know first-hand how challenging the whole chores issue can be!”
As part of the Funfi service, the app also plans to offer “crowd-sourced insights and opinions from professionals for multiple parenting conundrums” in the Check Insights section, as well as a Chore University feature. “This,” explains George, “is where the teacher advice really comes in, helping to create a learning platform for both kids and parents that provides actionable tips for instilling good behaviour in a fun way.”
Anything that reduces the nag-factor has to be good news, and along with the upcoming inter-family chat option, Funifi Grow and Funifi Smile – all of which are in the pipeline, the app is constantly evolving. “We’re not trying to promote mechanical communication between parent and child,” says George. “What we are doing is allowing the app to simplify the process of setting chores without taking away face to face communication; a star chart that’s easier to use, effective and in a language your kids can understand.”
Although the app has been a relatively short time in the making – the original idea was born at a start-up weekend in June 2013 – it’s already doing very well. “By June 2014, when we opened our offices here in Nicosia,” says George, “the beta version was up and running. We’d already assembled a sign-up list of over 500 people who were interested in trying out the app before its official launch, and that gave us some very valuable feedback.”
To date, the app has already received over 15,000 downloads – a staggering number for a start-up venture run from premises in the Old Town. And though Funifi Do is currently only available to iOS users, the company plan to roll out the Android version asap. Which is a Very Good Idea, because the reviews suggest Funifi Do really works!
“Awesome!” says Katemommyuk, clearly a major fan. “This app has got my 2 kids finally doing their chores. Well done, glad i found it:)))”.
And Helen, ‘Parent’, says: “My son is determined to get more points than his sister and my daughter is cursing Funifi for coming into her life and making her do things!! Lol.”
“It’s great to feel we’re making a genuine difference,” George beams. “And it’s not just the rewards system, it’s seeing the kids light up when we talk about the app: We hear a lot of ‘Now I can explain what I mean to Mum and Dad’. It’s a way of getting parents and kids into each other’s world, making life easier for the whole family.”
And here’s the best bit, the bit you’ve all been waiting for… it’s free. Yes, you read that right. Funifi Do can be downloaded completely free of charge – no hidden costs, no added extras. And, unlike Mary Poppins, it doesn’t even ask for every second Tuesday off! It’s there in every job that must be done, bringing a real element of fun. Making it possible it just might be Funifi Do the chores!
A free app for iOS that makes it easier to set tasks for your children with a minimum of fuss. To find out more, or to download the app, visit www.funifi.com