Want to watch TV in our house or buy a computer game? You have to earn it!
Summertime – my favorite time of year. No school, long lazy days, a house that is always a mess and nine million requests to watch tv.
Wait… that last part is my least favorite thing about summer. My girls would literally sit in front of the boob tube 24/7 if I let them. With so many other things they could do instead, I do my best to keep viewing time to a minimum.
Since the house is much messier with them home during the summer, I decided to combine my need for help around the house with their desire to watch tv. I searched pinterest for some ideas, and saw this one…
It doesn’t go back to a website or blog, just the facebook page of Rachel Snyder… Thanks for this excellent idea, Rachel!
I went a bought a bunch of popsicle sticks and filled them up with chores that both of them could handle – vacuuming, wiping down counters, etc. Each chore earns them the noted minutes of screen time. They have to have at least 30 minutes accumulated to watch tv or play on the computer. The minutes can carry over from day to day, so they can save them up for a movie or long show. That usually never happens though, those minutes burn a hole in their hot little hands as soon as they are earned!
I swear, it’s fricking magical. They fight over who gets to vacuum which room, and sneak chores to get the easy ones first. For example, the youngest took all the easy ones out of the cup and did them while her sister was in the shower – not that any of them are particularly hard, mind you. My floors have never been so well vacuumed – and I’m going through an awful lot of hand towels in the guest bathroom. Most importantly, they don’t ever complain about helping out. It’s so amazing that I only wish I had found this idea when the older kids were little!
By the way, they also need to get their regular chores, summer reading and writing for the day finished before they can watch tv.
Now, my 14 year old is a little too old for this exact set up, but he earns money for chores using the same system, but instead of minutes he earns money. I made him a set of his own chores he could do to earn money for that computer game he wants, using dollars instead of minutes.
He can earn money doing some of the easier chores too – he gets .25 for each minute on those sticks. For example, if he sweeps the back porch, he’ll get $2.50 instead of 10 minutes. (inflation is a real witch!)
So, that’s how I’m keeping sane around here this summer. What about you? How do you keep your kids from spending all day in front of the tv?