Saturday, November 2, 2013

Earning Screen Time

This post is unabashedly swiped--with permission, of course--from my friend Pam's blog.  The original post appeared on her blog exactly as it appears below.  This idea should be shared far and wide, I think, and I wish I'd had it eons ago!  We have had pretty much the same policies in our home, but without the signed contract, so the onus was on me to check every single time a request was made (or to remember to ask about every single thing, every single time a request for screen time was made).  This led to much more relational tension than necessary over every request and every infraction...and a lot of "flying under the radar" with screen time infractions that were a little too "gray" to catch every time. (I'm talking about you, Google searches--and YouTube viewings--during study time!)  Such a brilliant plan!  My friend Pam and her husband do most parenting things really, really well, and I just wish we were coming along behind them instead of their coming along behind us!  Such wisdom to glean from!  Here's her post:
During this month’s Moms’ Support Night for the homeschooling group of which I’m a part (Shout out to Homesteaders Homeschoolers! Woo hoo!), a few of us shared Top 10 Tips for organization and management of our own home schools.  One of the tips I shared was our family’s use of an “Earning Screen Time” contract.  For us, “screen time” involves any non-school/non-educational activities including TV shows, movies, games, televised sports events, videos, SportsCenter highlight clips on YouTube (which are extremely popular in our home!), etc. on any electronic screen such as iPad, iPod, DS, TV, laptop, or cell phone.  In order to earn one hour of screen time each day, our children must complete eight tasks, as listed on the contract.  Additionally, the contract delineates “infractions” that would lead to losing the very privilege of earning screen time — and we are sure to let our children know that it is a privilege indeed.  The happy results include more completed school work, more consistent quiet times with the Lord, neater bedrooms, and an overall cleaner house!
At the beginning of each school year, we update our contract, print it out on brightly colored (i.e., easily recognizable and grab-able in the event that we must point out an “infraction”), and have our children agree to it and sign it. I guess technically they could refuse to sign it and not ever earn screen time, but that is highly unlikely with our brood.  Once the contracts are signed, I place them in plastic page protectors and hang them prominently on our school room’s white board so they are super handy — just in case!

A few Homesteaders moms asked if I would share the contract, and, of course, I’m delighted to do so. So here it is!  It appears below, or you may use this Word document which would allow you to make changes as appropriate for your own family: Earning Screen Time 2013  I wish you much success with it. But please just promise not to tell your kids that I gave you the idea! :)