My 6-year-old gets a set amount of tickets each week for TV time. When he wants to watch a half-hour show, he deposits a ticket in a jar. He's permitted to use only a certain number of tickets per day, or he may choose to save his tickets and redeem them for a movie night at the end of the week. He loves making his own choices about using his time, plus it helps him learn to save for a bigger treat!
We decided that physical activity was required to boot up my sons' devices. For instance, ten push-ups equal 10 minutes of screen time, and ten free throws scored "activates" an iPod for 20 minutes. Most of the time, the boys get so interested in playing the sport that they forget the gaming altogether!
New London, NC
To control the amount of time my sons spend on video games, I wrote down various chores and activities, such as reading a book, on tokens and stuck them to the refrigerator. For every activity completed, each boy gets 30 minutes of video gaming time, with an hour limit. This way, my sons are doing something constructive in exchange for something they love.
During downtimes, I want to make sure my kids are using their brains to earn screen time. I have them read articles about things they're interested in. I write up lists of questions about the articles, and they answer them before getting TV or computer time. The kids enjoy it, and I'm actually learning a lot, too, because I have to read the articles to write the questions!
Originally published in the September 2013 issue of FamilyFun magazine