I have had a lot of questions on how we deal with tv, computer and other electronics and the kids using them.
In our house, Mr. Muscles and I do not see the ability to use electronics as a right. It is a priviledge that has to be earned. That goes for all of the children from Ms. Giggles (2) up to Ms. Serious (12). Yes, I said Ms. Giggles as well. 🙂
The ways we allow them to earn electronics time depends on the age and maturity of the child.
The oldest 4 (Ms. Serious- 12, Young Man- 11, Ms. Fircracker- 9, Ms. Lovebug-7) all have daily and weekly chores. At the end of the day, after they have gone to bed, I do an inspection. Each child who has their toys put away and their chore done gets a sticker. I will tell you a little more about the stickers in a moment.
Examples: Ms. Giggles (2) can pick up her toys. That is her daily responsibility, but that alone is not enough for Ms. Lovebug (7) to earn time. If Young Man (11) is responsible for the living room, and it has not been straightened up and swept, he does not earn a sticker for that day.
Every day they have the opportunity to earn a sticker just by taking care of their responsibilities. Their responsibilities include: their weekly assigned area, their clothing, their toys and their bed.
Each area has a light daily cleaning that will earn them one sticker. Each area also has a weekly thorough cleaning that will earn them two stickers.
All areas have to pass inspection! I have two kids that are “stuffers”. They will spend more time and energy stuffing items into cracks and crevices than it takes to put the thing away in the first place. *Insert gigantic, frustrated eye roll here*
In addition to the usual chores, the children can also do other things to earn more stickers. I keep a running list of what needs to be done and how many stickers it earns. they can do things like gathering leaves and putting them into the vegetable gardens will earn a sticker. Turning those leaves under (into the soil) will earn them two stickers. Raking the front yard will earn a sticker. Raking the whole yard will earn two stickers. Gathering up all of the outside toys and putting them away will earn a sticker. Lining the bikes up by the upper shed will earn them a sticker. Cleaning the front porch will earn them a sticker.
You get the idea. Take a look around inside and outside at what you would like to have done and assign it a sticker value. I make sure I take the time to check their work. If they do not do it properly, or finish it, they will not get their sticker.
The sticker/ poster is very simple. I bought a piece of the thick carboard paper, divided it into columns and wrote their names on it. One name for each column. As they earn stickers I put them in the column under their name. As they use the time on their chosen electronic device I “x” out the appropriate number of stickers.
Each sticker is worth 15 minutes. I will also put a limit on the number of stickers they can use at a time, unless they are using them while traveling. If they have 8 stickers saved up that is a lot of time! I do not want them spending 2 hours or more on the computer or DS.
It takes a little follow-through on my part, but it teaches the children responsibility, how to do their chores correctly, the value of work, the feeling of satisfaction of a job well done, and time management.
It took a long time to iron out this system. I have tried many different ones. I ended up combining several great ideas from other moms and forming one that works great for our family.
Take this system. Adjust to fit your family. Change what needs to be changed. I would love to hear how you make this work for you and yours. I am always looking to improve!
What system do you have?