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59: Joon App- Joe R.

Updated: Jan 26

In this episode, Jey and Joe discuss the Joon Kids app, a behavior management platform that helps parents set their kids up for success. They talk about the features of the app, such as assigning quests and earning coins, and how it can be tailored to individual children. They also discuss the benefits of the app, including promoting consistency, routines, and accountability. The conversation highlights the importance of quick wins and the distinction between productive and unproductive screen time. Joe also mentions the clinician tooling and discounts available for therapists and treatment providers. The episode concludes with Joe sharing his roots and core values, and offering advice for struggling parents to start from where they are and focus on taking the next step. In this conversation, Joe emphasizes the importance of taking small steps towards success and not getting overwhelmed by the big picture. He encourages focusing on the current skill set and information available to make progress every day. The mindset of continuous improvement can be applied to various aspects of life, including parenting and work. The conversation also touches on the contentious topic of pineapple on pizza, with Joe firmly stating his position against it. The episode concludes with a discussion about promoting the Joon app and the excitement for future collaboration.


The Joon app is a behavior management platform that helps parents set their kids up for success by merging success in the real world with success in a video game.

The app promotes consistency, routines, and accountability, and allows parents to tailor tasks and rewards to their child's needs.

Quick wins are important for building motivation and buy-in from children, and the app provides a system for rewarding and recognizing their achievements.

The app can be used as a tool for therapists and treatment providers to track progress and collaborate with families.

Parents should distinguish between productive and unproductive screen time, and use the app as a way to teach children about responsible technology use.

Starting from where you are and focusing on taking the next step is key to making progress in parenting and personal growth.


00:00 Introduction to the Joon App

05:35 Personal Experiences with the Joon App

12:11 Tailoring the App to Individual Children

18:42 Benefits of the Joon App

23:13 The Importance of Quick Wins

27:18 Productive Screen Time with the Joon App

34:13 Clinician Tooling and Discounts

43:35 Roots and Core Values

45:07 Advice for Struggling Parents

46:36 Taking Small Steps Towards Success

47:12 Applying the Mindset in Different Areas of Life

47:28 The Pineapple Pizza Debate

49:06 Promoting the Joon App

50:55 Excitement for Future Collaboration

Find more of Joon:

IG: @joonforkids

- X: @joonforkids

- TikTok: @joonforkids

Discount code: YNGDAD

Link to direct listeners to:

Jey (00:08.783)

Amazing. Thank you to our live in-studio audience. Super excited to be with you guys for another episode of the Young Dad podcast. I'm your host Jay and joining me today on the show is the director of clinical strategy for the June app. That's J-O-O-N. If you haven't heard of the June app yet, well, you're about to hear all about it. And I'm super excited about it because not only is this an app that I use in my own line of work,

with my own clients and kids and families, but it's also a tool that I use at home with my own kids. So I fully can say it's wonderful. It's super fun, it's great. And the also other exciting part of this show today is that it's a great opportunity for us to announce our partnership with the June app that we'll get into toward the very end of this podcast. A little plug there, but joining me is Joe. Like I mentioned, Joe is a

Director of clinical strategy. He's joining us today to talk more about the June app. So Joe, I'll give the floor to you Go ahead and introduce yourself talk a little bit about yourself and then kind of how What your role is with June and just the overall involvement? With the app and what it is and explain it to the audience for those who haven't heard of it yet

Joe (01:31.097)

Yeah, absolutely. Thanks so much for having me on, Jay. I'm excited to be here today. So I am the director of clinical and scientific strategy at June. And I was, so just to give you a little bit of background about myself, I am a licensed clinical psychologist by training. I spent about eight years conducting research focused on better understanding kids with behavior problems, things like ADHD, oppositional defined disorder.

and delivering treatments to hundreds of families to help improve behavior. And after about eight years of that, I got really intrigued by the ability of apps to actually be used by, you know, families and children. And so I did a little bit of a pivot into basically working with companies to, you know, build out research and develop apps that actually can be really useful at helping families.

And I worked at one company and then for about a little over a year and then I heard I thought I learned about June and I was really excited about what June had to offer because Just to give a little background to the audience about what the June app is it's a behavior management platform that basically Allows parents to work with their kids to help set their kids up for success and the way that it does this is by Basically merging

success in the real world with success in the video game. And this was the most intriguing concept to me, was basically leveraging a video game to actually get kids to complete tasks, things like homework, chores, in the real world. And the way that it works is there's a parent app where the parent can basically assign what we call quests. And these are basically specific chores, homework, different things, you know, behavioral expectations that you have for your child.

And the parent assigns those quests and then the child has a video game where they raise a virtual pet and They earn coins to buy things for their pet and then they can explore some virtual worlds but the key the kicker here is the only way to Be successful in the video game and use these coins is to complete your quests that your parent assigned to you in the real World, so you have to complete your homework to earn coins

Joe (03:53.069)

you know, whatever the things are that are on there, whether it's homework, routines, making your bed, brushing your teeth, the child has to do those things. And then after they do those things, the parents able to award coins. And then the child is actually able to leverage those coins in this virtual world. So parents love it because, you know, what they've told us is they see that their child is actually really motivated to do the things that they're asking them to do. And kids love it because they love the game. And what they're doing is they're...

going back to their parents and saying, hey, can I have some more quests and more things to do so that I can buy this hat for my virtual pet and that kind of a thing. And so to me, I saw this concept and I thought this was not something I had seen before. I have worked with a lot of families to develop reward charts, things like that. But this was a really novel and innovative way, I think, to sort of get both parents and child on board to sort of work together collaboratively.

to succeed and to accomplish the things that the parents, the child ultimately do want to accomplish. And so I reached out to them. They didn't really have any research things that going on at that time, but about six months later, they got some funding and they were looking for someone to sort of build out the clinical and scientific direction for the company. So that's where I ended up, how I ended up here. And so now, again, we have a lot of information

from parents about how well this is working. And we just want to continue to follow that up with doing some additional research and partnering with clinicians and therapists to get this into the hands of families that ultimately hopefully will benefit.

Jey (05:35.703)

100%. I love that. And it's so true. I mean, I started using this as a therapy tool. In my work, I'm a I'm a mental health therapist, I actually work with what work within what's called a wise program. So it's a wrap around with intensive services. And so we work with the family, the youth. So we work with the caregivers and the youth. And this is actually brought to me by a family a few months ago saying we just tried this app. I'm like, I've never heard of that.

Let me look into it because we like to make sure that our families are using like reputable things because there's so many apps and things out there that are that aren't that. And so I looked into it and I'm like, Whoa, this is really cool. This is definitely different. Like I hadn't seen, like you said, I hadn't seen anything like this before. I hadn't seen a game that was essentially controlled by parents, but the kids also controlled it at the same time. So it brings in that.

Joe (06:11.215)


Jey (06:34.079)

ever so important like shared control factor, which is so hard for a lot of parents, especially kids for parents with kids with big behaviors or ADHD or ODD like you had mentioned. Those things are really hard. Those parents have a really hard time sharing that control because those kids usually take those kids usually take a couple steps and then they're a mile down the road a few seconds later with it.

So it helps it stay controlled in that environment, which I really liked. And you can't see my hands. I'm doing this thing right here. They're sharing that control. They're meshing. Um, and then I'm like, okay, I started using it with this family specifically for a couple. I want to say I use it for like two months. And then I'm like, I want to do something else with it. I want to try it at home. I see how it's working for them, but I want to try it in my home before I really recommend it to anyone else. So then I brought it in home with.

Joe (07:05.367)

Right, right.

Jey (07:27.163)

my own daughter who a few weeks ago really started to struggle with who knows what. Trying to bring her more structure, routine, fun, all these different things. My oldest daughter, she's six going on seven this year in 2024. And so I'm like maybe this will work. She really likes apps. She's really into like we have an extra phone so just putting it on there won't be a big deal. She picks up the concepts really quick and then if I just explain to her like these

These are her quests and then she gets coins and then she gets to cash the coins in for real life things but also to take care of her pet. I think this will be a no-brainer win-win for her. And it absolutely has. Like, she looks forward to it every morning, every day when she gets home from school, every night. She goes through, she double checks her tasks, like after dinner, she's like, okay, what do I have to do? How do I have to do it? But she knows how to do all the tasks.

The best part about it, I say, is that the kids don't get, and this is probably one of my favorite parts from a therapy perspective and from a family perspective, is that yes, they get to check off the task, to get the coins essentially, to get the instant gratification reward. So that little dopamine hit that everyone's always looking for that quick gratification is right there, but it's also delayed at the exact same time.

which is such a hard concept to actually bring into a home and into real life with a lot of kids. Because kids just want the instant gratification, they don't want anything delayed. But with this, it forces that delayed because a parent, I could go two, three days without approving tasks, even though I'll get notifications that I need to approve tasks. I could go a day or two without approving tasks to make her wait. But then I can actually clean the kitchen table that night.

Joe (09:00.575)


Jey (09:18.355)

and let's say it was cleaned just not very poorly, I can reduce the amount of coins and I can put a note in there saying the kitchen table was cleaned pretty poorly, it was still dirty, this wasn't your best work, and I can reduce the reward. So even though she's completing it to her, there's still that chance to go back and double check, which I think is so important because a lot of times as parents we don't, it forces

us as parents to go and double check to make sure that things were actually done and done in a way that was, I want to say like, like it, but like satisfactory or well enough kind of thing. So that part of it, making the parents and the caregivers be involved in it is super important. And you can, you, I think another great part of it that is here, I wasn't sure if you mentioned, you can tailor it.

Joe (09:59.49)


Jey (10:15.363)

her child. So if you have multiple children, I just think that's so cool. So I have a six-year-old and a three-year-old, so I can tailor my three-year-old's task to her. So her list is a lot shorter, like a lot shorter, but my six-year-old has all these things to like do or to try to do or to get done and I'm still tweaking it for her. It's definitely a learning curve, like when you're taking it from therapy to in home.

Joe (10:27.049)

Mm-hmm. Right.

Jey (10:45.731)

and just try to tweak it for her like, okay, this is maybe there's too many tasks here or that task doesn't really make sense. Oh, but this one does and there's just so many options. There's already so many preloaded options for what people are using, what other parents are using, and it's continuously updating itself too. Because I'll go in and see like the most common ones that parents are using like today. Three days ago, those are all different. And that's so cool to see like, okay.

Joe (10:59.519)


Jey (11:15.347)

what are we all kind of struggling with our kids with the same kind of behaviors, diagnoses, and whatnot. So it definitely helps you feel not alone because it's like, oh, I'm not the only parent that struggles with their kid brushing their teeth or brushing their hair or cleaning up their toys or all these things. So it lets you know like, oh, we're all kind of trying to do the same thing together. So it helps kind of bring a lot of reassurance in that you're

Joe (11:30.88)


Jey (11:45.407)

And it just takes so much guesswork out of it for parents. Because it's kid driven, and if the kid doesn't do it, they don't get the reward. And the rewards are, of course, taking care of their pets. My daughter has two pets now. But the other reward is getting to do real life things, which I think is really cool. So I set her bars really high because she... Go ahead.

Joe (12:08.217)

Yeah, that's it.

Yeah, I was just going to say that's another piece of this is you can earn rewards to use in the in the game where you're raising your pet, but also parents can also tailor it to where if there's rewards they want to give outside of the game, like getting to stay up 15 minutes later, getting 30 minutes in the iPad. They can set that up in the app as well. And then kids can redeem those for 30 coins here for getting to stay up late or something like that. So absolutely. It has both those components, which is really, really great.

Jey (12:43.111)

Yeah. And you can filter it for what you want versus what you don't want in the app or what you want your kids doing versus not doing or doing on certain days of the week or weekends or you know, there's just so many options or if there's something that works for with you in your home versus what's already kind of preloaded in the app pre-templated, you can change those templates because they're different.

templates, they're just suggestions. You can change it to the days of the week, time of the day, however many coins, like if it says suggested 20 coins, but that's like an easy and medium hard task, but for your kid, it's an extremely hard task. You can change that to 30 coins as an extremely hard task and reset your own baseline based on these different things. And it's continually also taking your own feedback, which I think is really cool.

because it'll ask you every time you go and review individual tasks, unless you just do review all and you just say, approve all kind of thing, um, which I've done a few times, um, guilty, but you can go in and you can review every task and think about it. How hard was it to get your child to complete this task today and load in your own real time feedback.

Joe (13:52.837)


Jey (14:06.183)

and make those adjustments as you go and get suggestions and adjustments as you go, which is so important because some days are going to be harder than others and you want to see how your kids trending, which I think is a really key aspect of it.

Joe (14:23.009)

Yeah, I mean, I think the idea here and a lot of these things you touched on, but is, look, for all kids, there are certain core things that are going to be helpful, right? Like the things you touched on is we know consistency works for all kids, no matter what they're struggling with. Being consistent, key thing. That goes along with routines, right? Routines are super helpful for any kid, just like they're super helpful for any adult.

Joe (14:53.981)

Also recognition, right? And recognition in the sense of, you know, you mentioned being able to go back and review like, you know, how well did my daughter clean up the kitchen table? So one of the things that we know happens is a lot of kids, you know, when you set up any sort of like expectations around like, you know, doing your homework, you know, clearing off the table, brushing your teeth, making your bed, cleaning your room, whatever it happens to be, is that a lot of time we're so busy, right?

particularly parents, so busy. But it can be hard to remember like, hey, what were those three things that I asked my child to do? And even harder to go back and say, okay, I'm gonna hold myself accountable and I'm gonna go make sure that like those things were done. And so what ends up happening is either on one hand, kind of what you alluded to, which is the task isn't done at all, or if the task is done, it's sort of done sort of below expectations and you give that feedback.

But the other piece and the other thing that often happens is a task is actually done and it's done correctly and no feedback is ever given to the kids, right? Because the parents sort of moved on, they're on the phone, they're, you know, whatever, like, you know, life's busy, we're all busy. And so what the app sort of tries to do is it sort of embeds these principles around routines, consistency, accountability, to allow the child and the parent to collaborate and work together so that everybody sort of knows what the expectations are.

But also everybody's getting acknowledgement recognition for achieving and meeting those expectations. And one of the key things that we do as parents, as kids develop over time, is we do, you know, so the technical term for this is what's called scaffolding, right? The idea that we want to get our kid from point A to point Z, but we can't get them from point A, just, you know, go zero to 100 and get to Z that quickly. And so we scaffold them, meaning we kind of push them

you know, from A to B. And then when they get to B, we push them a little more to get from B to C. And so we're doing this scaffolding all throughout development. And what the app allows us to do is it allows us to do that in a way to basically be able to give that level of feedback that, you know, incorporates this scaffolding principle to say, you know, hey, look, you know, I've been asking my son to do this task for a week. They're having a really tough time.

Joe (17:12.965)

Let me be a little reflective here about like, is this task too hard for them? Should I break it down? Should I think about it differently? Should I reward more points in order to like better motivate them? And so all of those features are sort of built in there. So there's this, these sort of consistent pieces that every parent uses. But then the last point that you really touched on is, but there's this incredible amount of flexibility around how a parent wants to actually use June. How many points do they want to assign for a task? Do they want to come up with their own tasks? Do they want to use tasks that are common tasks that

get used by a lot of parents of kids between six and nine or something like that. And so by putting all of these things that we know sort of help in work, you're sort of reducing a lot of the burden on just how overwhelming at times it can be for parents. And I think this is why the idea has really resonated with parents and then also with kids because parents are like, oh, I don't have to nag them as much. I don't have to keep track of all the different things that I have in my head. We put all his homework assignments in the app. And so now...

And that's all in there and I can go back and review it on my own time. And yeah, I think that's the idea is basically just trying to reduce a lot of the challenges there are and having sort of a tracking system where parents and kids sort of all know what the expectations are. They're all on the same page. And ultimately, that just helps everybody in the family and hopefully reduces conflict and that kind of a thing. So.

Jey (18:42.823)

No, very true. And I think that's kind of the key part that I really saw for it from a therapy point of view is the elimination of, and it's really, it's hard to tell a parent or to tell a client that there's unnecessary communication going on.

But that's kind of like the nagging and the reminders and whatnot. A kid with ODD or ADHD, the last thing they need sometimes is those consistent reminders and nagging, do this, do that, do this, do that. They know kids with ADHD or ODD are, at least in my work that I worked with, are probably some of my more capable kids.

They're a little bit faster, they're a little bit smarter, they're a little bit more self-aware, they're a little bit quicker on their feet because they just are. This is how their brain works. That's how their neurodivergencies actually benefit them. And their parents just see these diagnosis like, oh, they're just so oppositional, they're so defiant, they're so hard.

But when we really look at that, or like with ADHD, they're fidgety, they're all over the place, they don't focus, they can't focus for a long period of time. But at the same time, those are also superpowers, like legitimate, like human superpowers to an extent, because they can do things so quickly, they can think so much quicker, they have to be quicker on their feet to be defiant. And to be able to work through a different task and whatnot. And so it's really fun. But this app, the June app.

really takes away that kind of cuts out that middle ground and helps just mesh because it can be really hard for a parent and a child with these behaviors or diagnoses to mesh because the parent probably just straight up doesn't know how. They weren't expecting it. They don't know how to deal with it unless they themselves are also that same way and have worked through it. Then they have a couple more tools in the tool bag to work with.

Jey (20:47.695)

But Jude essentially gives that tool. It's like, okay, here you go. This is all your things you need to do. It gives that full autonomy, which is so important, not only for all children, but specifically, at least, I mean, I keep mentioning ODD and ADHD, but for those kids to have that autonomy, to do things on their own timeframe, within their own focus limits.

within their own deficits, within their own oppositional moments or defiant moments, it gives them that autonomy to still do the things without getting in trouble for not doing while doing other things and not getting nagged and creating a bigger problem. So even less gets done because as you and I will know, go ahead.

Joe (21:31.097)

Well, yeah, go ahead.

Jey (21:35.539)

Oh no. So it's like, as you and I well know, like the more we nag, the more we get involved, the more we engage, the more that it comes back on us and it creates even more and less gets done.

Joe (21:48.685)

Yeah, no, absolutely. And I think that's the other key piece of this is, I've done a lot of work with families to develop behavioral plans, right? And a lot of times it really is, the kid is involved, the child is involved to some degree, but I think what the app really does is it helps to, this isn't a parent problem, it's not a child problem, it's a let's work together and sort of solve and move the needle.

on improving these things. And I think it's a key critical thing by having that child involvement, not only is everything you said true, but also this idea of the child also learning some level of independence, right? Some level of having to be accountable for their own behaviors and actions and the things that they'