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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this site's purpose is to help families create task charts as well as track and reward kids for doing their chores or doing something positive like not using bad language. Parents can join for free with a username, password, first/last name, and email; kid accounts only require a name for their "cool cat" avatar and a password. Kids input their progress and receive two kinds of points: HandiPoints (saved to buy stuff in the real world) and Bonus Points (used in HandiLand, the site's virtual world). The chat feature uses preset phrases so kids are unlikely to be snubbed via chat, but like in any virtual world, kids can be mean by simply ignoring another user. Keys ($1-$20) to unlock HandiLand stuff are for sale from Amazon; some ads will appear on printed charts.
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What's it about?
Step right up and rally round the computer because HANDIPOINTS.COM may be just the tool your family needs to organize, motivate, and get things done. After task charts are designed and goals are set online, kids input their progress and receive two kinds of points: Handipoints and Bonus Points. Handipoints can be used to buy things in the real world in the form of an allowance, privileges, etc. Bonus Points are used in the virtual world HandiLand to buy virtual stuff such as clothes, furniture, or backgrounds for avatars. Kids can chat safely with preset dialog and funny animations. The site also features a blog for parents and a Cool Cats Magazine for kids.
Is it any good?
If your family is up for using all its bells and whistles, both you and your kids will really get into logging progress with chores online and earning points at HandiPoints.com. The site provides loads of ideas and is extremely easy to use, which makes wanting to come back really inviting. The level of customization is probably the best feature: The process can be as simple or as detailed as you like. Want to choose from the site's list of chores? Want tasks to be daily, weekly, or just once? No problem. And, parents have the option to grade a completed task if they want kids to only earn a fraction of its worth (this is where quality versus quantity comes into play). HandiPoints.com is also well designed with loads of charming graphics and features kids will love -- from the games to the colorful virtual world. One thing: Using the tools on a daily basis is only practical if all family members are online everyday (you can go back one week if needed). So if you're low on time, you may want to skip the whole tracking, grading, and virtual world thing as the task chart feature is worthy in itself.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the tasks required to keep their home happy and healthy and which are considered kid chores. Would keeping a weekly chart help your family? Is using the computer as both a tracking system and a reward system a practical way for your family to communicate about chores? Would earning points for an online virtual world increase motivation for completing chores?
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