Family Tasks: the story

Everyone Participates at Home. Free Chore Board

Family Tasks is the story of a father of 3 and an entrepreneur.

My name is Jérôme Serre. My two last ventures were products for families: eduPad was about educational apps, and Monster Messenger the first safe and digitally healthy instant messaging app for children and their families.

As we sold eduPad after 10M downloads to another startup early in 2019 and Monster Messenger joined forces with Facebook Messenger Kids the same year, I had the opportunity to think about what our next move would be. It was when the idea of Family Tasks came to life.

Like many families, we consider it paramount that our children to participate in home chores. I share the belief with my wife that participating in home chores gives children a sense of responsibility and that it makes them value work. We started early with our children (when the eldest was 9 and the youngest 5) with a simple magnetic whiteboard on the fridge and magnets personalized with a photo of our children.

Our original, non-digital chore management system

In the beginning, the chores were very simple and few. But every year, around December, we would have a series of family discussion each weekend, which ended in defining the new task that would be added for the New Year. Everyone could propose a chore, and then we would discuss until we reached an agreement on the new task and the way it would rotate.

The system was a huge success, and not only did we never have an argument over chores, but we soon realized that our children were proud of the system and were bragging about it to their friends (apparently some other systems generated frustration and anger to parents and/or children). Discussing with friends, we were surprised to discover that for some parents asking their children to help at setting the table or sweeping the floor would almost always trigger an argument, and that a lot of parents had renounced asking their children to help because they felt they would spend more energy asking than doing the chore themselves.

Was our system perfect? No. In particular, as children grew up, they wanted to have the information on their phones, not to have to go to the fridge. And for some tasks, like “Buy the bread”, you really prefer to know you’re in charge before you come home, not once you’ve arrived!

So when we had that moment after dealing with Facebook when we could work on something new, we chose to digitalize home chores. We chose to mimic what worked in our family, with a super-simple task allocation and rotation web app, and to put it on a screen on the fridge so that anyone could see it at all times, even if they didn’t have a device.

The screen on the fridge became Dock Dock!, a kit which transforms any fridge into a Smart Fridge, and the web app became Family Tasks. Dock Dock! and Family Tasks can be used independently, but they really shine when used together.

Dock Dock! kit

Dock Dock! kits have 4 magnets with stickers, that are stuck on the back of any tablet, and a magnetic cable (for Android tablets) or a cable extension (for iPad tablets) with cable holders which keep the tablet charged at all times. An Android App manages the tablet while it’s on the fridge, and displays shortcuts to apps or web apps for immediate access to most useful services… like Family Tasks.

Family Tasks is a simple task management system which covers the 3 types of tasks which exist at home: rotations, days of the week, and one-time tasks. It can be accessed on any screen, and that’s it! The whole method for choosing and allocating tasks progressively in time is detailed on the Family Tasks website.

What differentiates Family Tasks from other family chore management systems is two points:

1- its focus and simplicity: where other apps want to solve all family issues and sometimes become over-complicated, loaded with sometimes useless features, Family Tasks does only what it says: chore management for your children. But it does it well and super easily.

2- Family Tasks is based on the credo that everyone should participate at home unconditionally. Hence it doesn’t come with a rewarding system to the contrary of other solutions.

From early feedback, what parents seem to appreciate most is the simplicity and efficiency of the system. But don’t take our word for it, just give Family Tasks a try and see for yourself if it fits your family’s needs!

Our fridge with Family Tasks and Dock Dock!