We’ve been struggling to find a good balance with many aspects of family life lately. However, with our nearly seven-year-old, the most significant hurdles inevitably include technology and attitude, usually with a fair amount of connection between the two.
As a mom who has too much love for her phone and television, I can say that I may not be teaching what I preach here. There’s room to grow for me as well. However, I am not hesitant to let my daughter know that I’m aware this is a shortcoming of mine and that I will work on my usage of tech as we work on hers. We’ve attempted several iterations of chore charts, tech time, sunshine quarters, and other rewards and incentives for a good attitude and responsible tech usage.
Now, I think we’ve stumbled across an idea that will stick: Activities equal minutes of tech earned, while a good attitude equals money earned.
I have found a chart that allows me to add in her weekly chores, which range from feeding the cats and picking up a room to reading a book, playing her violin, playing nicely with her sister, and eating vegetables. She does not have to do any of these activities, or she can do them all. However, her tech time is now determined by them as I’ve given each activity a tech-time value: One book equals 10 minutes, playing violin equals 20 minutes, eating a vegetable equals 10 minutes, etc.
These times might seem high, but as she is only six, she doesn’t usually do more than two or three of these items daily, so we seem to be equaling to a reasonable screen time. Of course, as she ages, I may add to the responsibilities and reduce the time for each.
If she does three or four activities on her chart on Monday, her screen time earned can be used the following day (and usually it is), or she can pass it down the week to another day and bank more time for longer movies or activities. I will add that I do not count the educational tech time we do together as a family against her earned minutes.
Being my little eager spending beaver, she also wanted a way to earn some coins for her Sunshine Jar (a fun name for her money bank). I didn’t want to double dip the reward for her chores, but I realized as we started the new routine that her picking up a room and screaming and crying for fifty minutes was not working. So, I added the monetary incentive to help encourage a good attitude when completing items on the list. The new rule of thumb is that if she does the activities on her list, such as cleaning her room or eating vegetables, without screaming and crying like a toddler or with a generally happy attitude, she earns a quarter for her Sunshine Jar.
So far, the coin incentive has been a bit hit or miss, especially when it comes to cleaning her room, but I think the first time she gets to spend the money from her jar, it will all start to click.
If you are looking for a way to rein in the technology or wrangle a lousy attitude about chores, maybe this will help! What do you do that is different? I am always looking for ways to improve and streamline our week!