Screen Time Dollars for Your Kids’ Incentive-Based Reward System
A few readers asked about the “Screen Time Dollars” I mentioned in one of my last posts. I’m happy to share because they have been working great in my house for our newly implemented incentive-based rewards system.
The sad reality is that quiet kids playing with their devices are often a lot easier to deal with than bored, whiny kids and when I’m stuck working behind my own screen, it was all too easy for me to let the electronic devices take care of the kids instead of me. But that’s not good for any of us. Chores weren’t getting done, a sense of entitlement was taking over, and worst of all I was starting to worry that their virtual realities were becoming more important than their actual realities. It was time for a big change.
Since I’m a graphic designer and making paper things is kind of what I do all day long, I was inspired by the “reward system” they have at school and created Screen Time Dollars” as our own home-based reward system.
Each Screen Time Dollar is worth half an hour of screen time on any device–whether it’s watching TV, playing online games like Minecraft, watching Stampy videos on YouTube or even just messing around with my phone. The kids can earn these “dollars” by first completing their daily chores and then I added some extra chores that they can do to earn extra time. Sometimes I even reward them “screen time dollars” for random acts of kindness. Between you and me, this has had a wonderful effect on the way they get along and treat each other.
Suddenly beds are made before school not after. Hair is brushed and I don’t even have to ask twenty-seven times! Our whole morning routine before school has been so much smoother and after school they get their homework done right away. It’s great. I don’t know how long this incentive-based system will work but it has brought a nice sense of order to our house.
The kids are not quite as keen on it as I am but I take that as a sign of success because before we set up this system up they kind of ran the show and I wasn’t too happy about it. Mom has taken back control!
I made some “Screen Time Dollars” for you too, if you’re interested. You should tweak the reward and incetive-based system to fit your home but I hope they help if you’re in the same predicament I was.