Naughty or Nice

because-I-said-so-blackSome of the nicest kids in the nation live in Utah. Or so says data from ChoreMonster, a suite of web and mobile apps that aims to make chores fun for parents and kids.

Using completion of chores as an indication of naughtiness or niceness, ChoreMonster executives analyzed more than 7 million completed tasks in the app database to identify which cities in America are home to the nicest — or at least the hardest-working — kids.

Los Angeles came in No. 1, followed by Salt Lake City. Seattle-Tacoma, San Francisco-Oakland and Atlanta round out the top five cities. Allegedly, Mobile, Alabama, is home to the naughtiest kids — those kids who rarely complete their chores on the ChoreMonster app. Memphis, Tennessee is second worst, followed by Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Chico-Reading, California and Knoxville, Tennessee.

Of course, the idea that completing chores is an indication of naughtiness or niceness is a bit ridiculous, but I admit this study intrigued me. Not for what it says about kids in the state where I live, but for what the data says — although not implicitly — about parents in the Beehive State.

Because let’s be honest: chore completion requires as much work from parents as it does from kids. Even with young children who are eager to help, parents need to show them the correct way to do a chore and usually work alongside them while they do it. Parents must learn to surrender “perfect but not done” for “good enough and done.”

As children get older and more independent, they are usually less enthusiastic about helping out. So parents have to up their motivation game. Either doling out rewards — according to the ChoreMonster survey, screen time is the No. 1 requested reward for chore completion — or mastering a way to follow through on chore completion without nagging or yelling. Teens are typically more capable of self-governing but may struggle to fit chores into a hectic academic and extra-curricular schedule.

The truth is that chores often feel like a chore for everyone involved. Sure, there are things you can do to make them fun, but even games or other rewards aren’t always enough to coerce children into chores. ChoreMonster says the top rewards, after screen time, are allowance, snacks, toys and family outings.

My point isn’t that chores are more effort than they are worth. I sincerely believe chores are an important part of family life and a great way to teach children about hard work and family values. But I think we can all agree chores require serious dedication from parents, too — whether you’re using an app or not.

Even though this study claims that Utah kids consistently complete chores, what it tells me is that Utah parents are consistently following through and that they teach and instruct their children.

So if Utah is home to the nicest kids, it’s also home to some really great parents.

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