How To Get Those Electronic Screens Turned Off!
by Alice Shaffer
“Turn off the Playstation”, “Turn off the TV” and “Turn off the computer!”
These were common phrases at my former nanny job. The boys were 9 and 11 at the time. They got very addicted to “screen time” As a result, their mom came up with an idea of a payment plan for screen time. They were “awarded” 7 hours of screen time a week. Now screen time meant: Wii, XBox, Playstation, gameboy, television, computer -basically anything with a screen. We had devised a payment plan. They had been given 28 little colored cards with 15 mins on it. I will include the link so you can make your own as well.
When they wanted to “cash” in to play some video games they could. This was great in so many ways. We weren’t nagging them to get off the computer. They knew how long they could play etc. We had egg timers for each child so they could set it for 30,45 or 60 minutes etc. When the bell rang it was done. It worked 95% of the time. They also learned time management. If they choose to play for 2 hours on Monday and Tuesday and then were done with all their electronic time by Saturday, they lost out. Each Sunday the bucket was refilled. If they didn’t use up all their time, they could stock pile it as well from week to week. This worked out some weeks for the oldest.
The downside to the electronic time bank was that you could lose your time as well. If you back talked you lost a 15 min card. If you hit your brother you lost time etc. One day the oldest and I got into a bickering match over something. He had stock piled like 32 hours of electronic time. He ended up losing 26 hours in a matter of 1 and half hours of yelling and arguing with me. It was a very painful day for all involved. He will still tell you today how I took away 26 hours of electronic time for nothing. You all know that I like taking away electronic time from kids, right? sigh.
This method was awesome and I have passed it along to lots of other nanny families and friends of mine. I am sharing it with others because I know the endless battle of television/video games/gameboys haunts the majority of all households. Even those with husbands and boyfriends who love the “screens” of the electronics.
How to make your “Electronic Time” system:
Collect some butter containers, cut a little slot in the top of them for each kid. This is their bank. They deposit their time in the container. Have each child pick out a colored sheet of printer paper, and print out atleast 2 copies of the electronic time chart and have the kids cut the squares out. Take them to the store and get them to pick out a timer.
The kids also were able to earn some extra electronic time for doing out of the ordinary type house chores. One time the oldest got 5 hours of electronic time, for cleaning the bathroom tile floor with a toothbrush in the gritty lines. He loved it. Other times were for shoveling snow on the sidewalk and driveway.
Have fun with it and enjoy a pain free way to get your kids off the computer and tv! Let me know how it works in your house!