I cannot believe it is nearly 2019. A lot of changes are heading this way for our family and I’ll share them in the coming posts, but for now, I want to really focus on starting the last leg of the school year with encouragement, strength, and focus. Something our family has surely lost sight of and desperately needs to regain. I’m sure you could use some of those positive vibes as well!
I’ll start this blog by saying this little disclaimer: in no way does “my way” equal the “best way”. Each parent has their own hardships and choices to make regarding their family. But I would like to share with you something I’ve learned very quickly, but unfortunately, not quick enough: technology and the “time suck”.
There simply is no nice, politically correct way to say it.
I expected the kids to spend a little time on a device, then move on to something else. Perhaps a book, or a conversation. Maybe even venture outdoors to play. I was so naïve. What kid in their little body would put down such a fascinating piece of equipment? It’s hard to find a parent that can put it down. How are we to expect a child to? Technology is sucking time away from us by leaps and bounds. For instance, just typing this post to share with you, I am using technology. Granted it’s productive, but nevertheless, it is taking time to complete. But what happens when we, as parents, become so upset that our kids are “online” or have “screens up” more than we think they should be?
We get our feathers in a bunch because they are playing Minecraft or Fortnite or even chatting with friends on social media… all the while we are certainly in front of a screen of some sort. Whether it is television, a tablet, a phone, a smartwatch, we are just as guilty of overusing technology as our kids. We as parents justify our use because… well… we are parents. But does that really equate to proper reasoning?
No. And kids know this. It’s engrained in their DNA to fight every battle against parental bias that they can, and it leaves us feeling doubtful of our parenting skills, frustrated with their defiance, and regretting the day game systems were invented… ok, maybe not that bad, but do you see where I’m coming from?
And I am just as guilty as the next parent that comes along in all those aspects. So how do we find a medium—a middle ground—where technology is ok and not to be frowned upon, but also not used so often that we are frowning the proverbial resting witch face because we are so inundated with what we see on the screen?
We’ve tried everything. We’ve limited their time. We’ve been lax with their time. We’ve removed time limits. Put limits back in place. We’ve grounded them. We’ve made deals. We’ve bribed them. We’ve argued with them. We’ve stood our ground for so long on trying to curb their online addictions, that we are now standing… below sea level! But we are going to keep trying until we find something that works.
Then I read a comment on a Facebook post today that really resonated with me. It placed the responsibility of obtaining screen time in the hands of the person wanting it, and for a cost, it could be obtained.
Hey, this “Screen bucks” thing just might work!
No. I’m not talking about charging your kids cash to access today’s most active virtual world. I’m talking about giving them the opportunity to earn a form of currency for extra work done around the house that can then be used to purchase a block of time (provided all other expectations are met), in which they can access their favorite sites, games, YouTube channels, etc.
Why didn’t I think of this? And why not two years ago. I could have saved so much energy. So many arguments. *Sigh*
Not only will this reinforce a general order within the home, but it will hopefully be a strong incentive for them to actually brush their teeth without being told three or four times. It might even encourage one of my three to think differently about luxuries over necessities.
Starting Monday, we are going to utilize the following schedule just to see if it will work. Having fought this battle before, I should know in a matter of 48 hours, so watch the blog/vlog for updates!
Before Screen Bucks can be earned, each kiddo must complete:
As it stands now, the available time segments are:
With the first few days between each of them, they will have to save if they want online for more than 30 minutes. However, the list is also conveniently set up for them to split the chores down the middle and each earn $4.00. That’s just enough screen bucks to buy 30 minutes of screen time.
I may have to tinker with the values and times (depending on their acceptance of this new idea and their behaviors toward each other throughout the day). However, I feel we really may be on to something.
And not to mention, the skills that will be reinforced: character traits and mathematical skills. For one, they are learning that nothing in life is free and anything worth having will require work to achieve it. Secondly, they’ll be reinforcing their math and currency skills by adding money and time. Lastly, they will be finding out the value of money (regardless of it’s true currency form) and how we tend to put more value on things than what the money is genuinely worth.
BUT… what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t take the parental aspect into account? Not a very good one (or perhaps, a good one that has her own vices and needs to come clean).
If you are like me, you may spend a little too much time online as well. And I have the cure all for that.
You guessed it… Screen bucks!
All you must do is complete some extra tasks! <Insert grown-up whine here!> But I think you’ll find these are not really tasks at all!
Using the same time segments and spending power listed above… Try these tasks before you click the mouse (or open a device of some sort).
I’m curious to know what you think of this. Is this something you have tried before? How do you think it would work out for your family? I’d love to hear your comments!
Until Next Time,
Welcome! My name is LaVonda. I am the wife of Rodney, the mom of 5 remarkable kids (well, 2 are adults now), an avid homeschooler, blogger, and sociologist. I am blessed with the ability to spend my time sharing our homeschool and life experiences with you. It is my hope to provide you with motivation, ideas, and some candid stress-relief through my blog - Mom's Scribe! Grab a cup of coffee, sit on down, and make yourself at home!