Written by Jody Swain
As parents we all love our kids, but let’s be honest – parenting can be difficult, especially during the busy summer months when patience is tested! To help with everyday parenting challenges, I created a tool to help families raise more successful, well-rounded kids who are ready for the real world. It combines motivation, competition, teamwork, recognition/reward, consequences/discipline and teaching kids the value of a dollar.
I looked for other programs out there, but many were quite junior, or they had too many gizmos and gadgets, or they needed screen time which I was trying to steer away from. I needed something super easy, engaging and fun… and since I couldn’t find it, I created it!
After launching Hire and Fire Your Kids in our home, we were amazed by the results! We couldn’t believe how it helped and made an immediate impact on our household. The kids were engaged, having fun, they were self-aware, and they were actively participating as household members. Hire and Fire Your Kids became more like a game in our home than a “program”. While its beginning wasn’t perfect, tweaks along the way adjusted it, and it became more suitable for our family. Like many blended families, we found that there was one particular tweak that was crucial and that was to stop enabling our kids and giving them money at whim (lunch money, chocolate bars at the store, souvenirs, etc.) We found our children were getting spoiled, and didn’t have a reason to complete additional chores. Before we instituted Hire and Fire Your Kids, we gave them fair warning, and then cut them off. We instilled a 3 month probationary period, with training and establishment of routines. The result was that additional chores began to happen way more frequently, and the kids began to understand the value of a dollar. Their hard-earned dollar, not ours!
A year later, I went back to work, resumed my role as a Retail Executive, and our family stopped playing Hire and Fire Your Kids. It wasn’t until I lost my job last year that it came back into my life in a big way. Once again I was home full time with my kids, and I rediscovered everything that was no longer being done. So, I brought back Hire and Fire Your Kids. At this point, our kids were 18, 13, 10, and 3 – that’s a lot of different age groups to deal with! However, after we rolled it out it again, it worked brilliantly, so I thought what if this works in other people’s homes? Could this be something I should be sharing with others?
I decided to reach out to family and friends to see if they would be open to trying Hire and Fire Your Kids. Everyone loved the concept and we had 100% participation. Not even a week later, the feedback was coming in and other families were having the same explosive results as we did. I knew the way of the world was digital (even though I was not ready to get on board). I had friends with kids as young as 3 who had their own tablets and I began to research. As I continued, I saw a gap in the market for a tool such as ours. The feedback continued to be positive and strong from our “test” families after month 1 and month 2, so I jumped in with both feet and hired a company to build our parenting and household management app.
And the rest – as they say – is history!
Jody Swain is an Elite+ member based out of Whitby, Ontario. She is the founder of Hire & Fire Your Kids, an App for the “Future of Parenting in a Digital Age” which is a game-like system combining chores, hygiene, manners and behavioural expectations all in one! Jody’s philosophy behind the App is to give kids the opportunity to be contributing members of a team, establishing strong family bonds, and teaching them to respect family values. Helping kids be independent, responsible and accountable are critical success outcomes, in addition to keeping a peaceful, tidy home. Practical skills are developed and rewarded, giving kids a sense of pride and capability to function well in the “Real World”.
A version of this article was previously published on hireandfireyourkids.app