Screen time moderation can be hard for young kids. It is certainly hard for adults, so I feel like it is a parenting area that I just have to help my kids learn self discipline in. I have two boys who are always wanting screen time. Some days we simply don’t have time for TV or video games (I like those days best) and for the most part we are on screens way less than 2 hours a day, but there are some days when we just have ennui (awesome vocab word for my wonderful readers: a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement). On those days these tokens are a life saver. It’s similar to an “I’m bored Jar”, but they have added motivation to do the items because it earns them screen time, and I throw in some chores and education items too.
My sons have hit a stage where they are constantly wanting to play video games or watch TV. I know a lot of people who successfully completely remove those items from their lives, but we aren’t one of those families! I do however try to keep screen time under 2 hours a day. My boys were having a hard time accepting when their two hours were up, so I decided to make them something to help. I came up with screen time tokens:
They are 1 inch circles and I used a circle punch to cut them out. On the back I wrote things that my boys could do to earn 10 minutes of screen time. Some items are chores and some are educational and some are just fun ideas.
Some of the items I included were:
Put away clean silverware
Practice writing full name
Play with blocks
Practice writing address
Do a puzzle
Help Mom in the Kitchen
Look at a magazine
Play with baby brother
You can make yours to fit the age of your child.
Need some more ideas? Check out the links after the final paragraph below.
My boys know that they can earn up to 12 per day. Each boy has a jar he puts his earned tokens into and when he uses screen time he puts the tokens back into his draw basket. It has worked wonders on them being able to visualize how much time they have used and how much they have left. It also works great when I hear the all too familiar “Mom, I’m bored” whine. Plus it keeps them occupied giving them less time to think about wanting to play video games or watch TV. Yes! My evil plan worked!
Feel free to print the tokens for your own use. The .jpg is sized to print on a 8.5×11 paper. All you need to do is right click on the image and select print.
Other Ideas for tokens:
Kitchen Skills by Age by Thirty Handmade Days
My Keep The Kids Busy Pin Board:
Ultimate I’m Bored Jar List from Mum in the Mad House.