I don’t know what it’s like in your house, but getting my kids to do their chores has always felt like pulling teeth. I’ve tried everything: chore charts, charts with stickers, adding allowances, verbal reminders, making it a game, and more. But the end result has been the same: the chores aren’t done, I’m frustrated, and my kids are upset because they’re in trouble.
But that all changed about a month ago. I pulled the mom trick of the century. I figured out how to get my kids to do their chores without me ever having to say a word and my kids are happy and don’t complain about chores.
No, I didn’t find some miracle brainwashing technique. Instead, I put my Amazon Echo to good use. That’s right, my Alexa gets my kids to do their chores and like them.
If you have an Echo and your kids are like mine, they probably love bugging Alexa all day long. One day my husband realized how much time they spend talking to Alexa and wondered if we couldn’t somehow turn that to our advantage. After a little research, he discovered a lesser-known feature called Alexa Skill Blueprints. It’s a technical-sounding term that basically means an easy way to program your Echo to run special programs (or skills) on your local devices.
I created one of these Skills Blueprints to make a custom chore chart for my kids. It took about 20 minutes to do and since I put it in motion I haven’t had to bug my kids about chores at all. And the chores are getting done. Best 20 minutes I’ve ever spent!
You can do the same thing for your kids. Making a chore chart with Alexa Skill Blueprint is easy. You don’t have to know anything about programming to do this. All you have to do is be able to follow easy prompts and you can create your own custom skill.
How to Make a Chore Chart with Alexa
1. To get started, login to your Amazon account. Then go to the Amazon Alexa Skill Blueprints home page. This works best on your computer rather than on your phone.
2. You’ll see a bunch of skills you can create. Scroll down until you see an option for Chore Chart and click on it.
3. This will open the skill preview screen. Click the Make Your Own button to launch a step-by-step guide to build your chore chart.
4. The first step is to add the names of the household members who will use this chore chart. Add/remove names as needed.
5. Next, scroll down to the Chores section and add all the chores that need to be done. Don’t worry about who the chores belong to yet or what day those chores should be done. You’ll do that in a minute.
6. Click the Next: Assign button.
7. On this screen, you will assign specific chores to individual household members. To get started, choose your first child from the dropdown menu. Then select a chore from the dropdown list and select which days of the week your child should do this chore. You can optionally choose to set a reminder. The reminder will activate your Echo at the specified time and Alexa will give a reminder.
8. Continue adding chores and assigning days for your first child.
9. Then add your other children and select their chores. Don’t worry about getting this perfect because you can always go back and edit your skill later.
10. Click the Next: Experience button
11. Next is extra personalization that doesn’t really matter a ton, but allows you to add some creative flourishes. You can change the intro, encouragement, what’s said when all chores are done, and what Alexa says when your child has a free day. If you have more than one option for each section, Alexa will randomly select which option to say.
12. Click the Next: Name button.
13. Give your skill a name. This is important because this is what you’ll ask Alexa to open. To keep things easy, I just named my skill Chore Chart. Remember, this skill is active only on the Echo devices on your account and not to the broader Internet, so you can name it whatever you want.
14. Once everything is done, press the Next: Create Skill button. It may take a few minutes for the skill to be created, but once it’s done you’ll be notified and you can test it out.
To edit your skill after it has been created, go to the Skills center again and click on the Skills You’ve Made option. Find your skill and select the Edit button.
How to Use the Alexa Chore Chart
Go to your Echo and say, “Alexa, open chore chart.” If you named your skill something else, then you’ll say, “Alexa, open [whatever you named your skill].”
From here, Alexa takes over and provides verbal prompts. Your kids can follow the instructions and interact with Alexa to learn what chores they need to do that day. They can also log their chores, which helps them and Alexa keep track of what they’ve accomplished. They earn points for completing chores and can see how they stack up against their siblings.
My kids love this chore chart. For whatever reason, having a chance to interact with technology makes something as mundane as chores seem more interesting. They get right to it and love checking off the chores.
If you’ve struggled to get your kids to do chores, give the Alexa chore chart a chance. It takes about as much time to make as a paper version, and your kids will like it a whole lot more.