I have very strong ideas about kids and video games. In my personal experience I can visibly see a decrease in their imagination literally each and every time they get off a device. Its like they forget how to play. I also see the opposite, the longer they play without plugging in the more creative and fun their ideas get. Don’t get me wrong, there are days that it is very tempting to hand over the ipad or throw them on the computer indefinitely because I wont see or hear from them for hours! No fighting for hours – sounds great! Even though it seems to be the harder route most days I do everything I can to keep their little minds unplugged. I don’t think we know enough about the long term effects on little developing minds to give our kids so much free access. I even see in myself since getting an iPhone that my attention span is gone! I can not just sit and wait anymore – not when there is Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest,and all sorts of other things to occupy my 30 seconds here and there. If I have to wait without my phone I feel so lost and get a little agitated. Not a good sign! If you are ready to tell me all about all the good that comes from kids playing video games take a look at the research data yourself. I’ve looked into the research and the studies that spout all the “advantages” to video game playing are really weak and overly reaching. Enough of my soapbox…
Because I have such strong feelings I have been really cautious about my kids plugged in time. I thought I was being a good Mom to make them “earn” their time. These first few weeks of summer have been pretty clean around my house because my kids were always asking to do chores! But soon I realized I was being nagged all the time for chores. And then it hit me that I hadn’t seen my boys play with their Lego’s in over a week. All they wanted to do were more chores so they could have more time on Mindcraft or the computer. It became a little obsessive.
I’m trying a new approach, one that I hope will also help them learn how to handle time and also to delay gratification, I gave a lot of thought to how much time I was okay with them playing all week and I decided on 3 hours. I then made tokens broken into 15 minute increments. I created them in their favorite games Club Penguin and also Mindcraft.
I printed them, cut them out, and laminated them.
I put their initials on the back just so there is no temptation to sneak any tokens away from their brothers
Then I glued a magnet to clothespins and clipped each of their tokens onto the magnet and hung them on the fridge. I am going to let them each decorate their clothespins.
So far its working pretty darn good. They have Mon-Sat to use their time and once it is gone, its gone. No more earning time through chores and there has been a serious decrease in nagging! They are trying really hard to space their time out. After they have played their chosen amount of time they go play Lego’s or go outside and seem so much more content. I love that they feel in control of their time and able to make choices to govern themselves within the boundaries I have set. With our daily 5 summer charts and now this system I see that they are starting to understand more how the choices they make will dictate what kind of day they will have. I can see them starting to feel responsible for themselves and I love it!
Feel free to download your own!
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