"Moooooooommmmm, can I play my game?"
I hear these questions from both of my kids every day. I am either the best Mom ever for saying yes or the worst Mom of the year if I say no.
Really, I have a love/hate relationship with television, movies, video games, games on the iPad, games on the cell phone, any sort of screen time. I love them because my kids are entertained for a short time so I have some much needed, uninterrupted time to get some things done. Plus, I think it's a good way for my kids to relax and unwind after a busy day. I hate them because my children aren't using their brains or getting fresh air or exercise. Have you ever looked at your kid's faces when they watch TV? They have this horrible blank stare and you can almost see their brains turning to mush. Plus, I hate it when I say "No, go do something else..." and they whine and complain.
So, I've come to the conclusion that a little screen time per day is okay. The problem we run in to is monitoring the amount of time they spend doing it. I think they would spend most of their day in front of the television if I let them! The other problem is, I don't like telling them what to do ALL the time. I like for my children to make some decisions on their own so they can learn to make the really important decisions later in life.
Do you want to see what we have implemented in our home?
SCREEN TICKETS! My lovely and awesome sister told me about these awhile ago. She has used them for years and it works in her family. So, I made my own and now use them. At the beginning of each week, I give my children 14 tickets for the week. That is 7 hours of screen time a week. 1 hour a day for television, video games, cell phone games, computer games, anything in front of a screen. The beauty is that they decide and figure out how to use them for themselves. They can choose to do 30 minutes one day and 1.5 hours for a movie the next day. This way, they aren't spending too much time in front of a screen and they are learning how to budget their time.
Thanks to my wonderful sister for the idea. She also said that she uses these screen tickets for rewards and I thought it would be a good idea to use them as stocking stuffers.
Click on the link to download a page of 6 tickets. Print as many as you like on heavy card stock (since you will be reusing them). Divvy out the tickets at the beginning of each week. Have your kids hand you the tickets when they want some screen time. Reuse the tickets week after week. Enjoy this pretty printable!