Media and Kids

I have watched friends and family raise their kids and they have all had different approaches with supervising media and television watching. One family created a token system to help the children police their own habits, others simply set a daily max, others felt that if the homework and chores were completed, go ahead and play/watch what you would like.

Kids are great at creative play. My kids love Legos, arts, crafts, playing board games and running around outdoors.  And yet, there is also so much fun that can be had on devices and watching tv! I found myself trying to supervise a daily max, but as our kids get older and like to watch different shows or play different games on their device, I found myself overwhelmed keeping track of their minutes. Suddenly I had a child watching one show on a computer, another playing games on a device and yet another who was reading or playing without using up media time. HOW COULD I KEEP TRACK?

Over Christmas break, I devised my own chart system.  Kids had a certain number of minutes that they could spend per day on media/tv. We made a chart with 25 minute blocks of time and then made individualized magnets for each child  (a fun craft time). The kids place their magnet on the appropriate square when they’ve used up that amount of time.

I was able to sneak some expecations into the system with some chores or homework they needed to complete before earning more media time. For example, the first 30 minutes of media/tv are free, but then they need to make sure their bed is made and clothes picked up in their room.  They can then mark off the “Clean Room” square on the chart.

After their next use of a media/tv slot, they need to make sure their homework and reading are done for the day. Then the homework/reading slot can be marked off.  This allows the older kids to earn a few extra minutes of play while they listen to audio books in their room before bed.

The kids LOVED it! They love marking off the squares with their colored magnets. They love seeing how much time they have left in the day.  I love telling them when they ask the question, “Can I play/watch…..?”

“Do you have any time left on the chart? Then yes! If not, go find something else to do!”

We are enjoying this chart system. This will help us keep track of our media/tv time and allow us to enjoy them for the fun they are, but also enjoy all the other great activities our house and the outdoors can offer.

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