Limiting Screen Time

I may be rotting their brains, but at least I am feeding them organic cereal!

I will start off by saying that I am not a hater of TV time.  I myself find it completely enjoyable to plop down at the end of the day with a blanket, some popcorn, and a glass of wine, and watch whatever is in our Netflix queue (I may even let the hubby join me!).  My kids watch TV, too, and it can be so easy to just let them keep going because they are occupied (!) and quiet (!!) and I can get some crap done around the house (or play on FB!!!).  However, I appreciate that there is more to life than what flashes on the screen, and I want to teach my kids the same.

Last week I talked about our new task charts (still working!), and one of the comments asked if there was a reward attached to cooperation and completion.


I know for me, as an adult, I would much rather do just about anything than the items on my “task chart,” but I know I have to “work” before I can “play.”  However, the kids’ tasks were all needing to get done before heading to school/work or bedtime which meant that there was all work, and no play!  So I devised a way to tie in screen time with the completion of their charts.

How it works is that they get a 15 minute token (really just an index card cut up with a 15 on it) once they complete their charts (so, potentially 30 minutes can be gained in a day).  That 15 minute token can be turned in for 15 minutes of screen time (I count one 22 minute kids show as one token- I’m not that mean!).  They can use them as they get them or save them up for longer bouts with the electronic device of their choice – Miles saved up to 90 minutes and cashed them in all at once one day (it’s even a good lesson in the importance of saving)!  There are certain “black-out” times, such as they must have homework done before cashing in any tokens, but for the most part, if they have the tokens – they can have the time!  I also have a few 5 minute tokens for extra tasks that get done that are not on the chart – this is a good time to get that floor vacuumed by your 7-year-old!

The time my kids have been spending in front of a screen these days has been drastically reduced, mostly because we have a better system now to keep us all on track and aware, and they are appreciating the time they get to “play” more because they worked for it!

Also, there is a lot more of this going on in our house lately!
Photo Credit: Dena Fleno

4 thoughts on “Limiting Screen Time

  1. This is a great idea, Dena. I too (and my husband included) love a night of relaxing TV time when Jake is in bed. Also, TV helps for those “OMG I NEED TO COOK DINNER AND GET OUT OF MY WORK CLOTHES” moments after harrowed days of work. I’m definitely pro-TV, but i agree that there are limits- for myself included! I love your idea to reward with TV time. I’ll keep it in my file!

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