Less Technology, More Living

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I was recently at a friends house when she told me that she was making her kids earn their technology time. This sounded interesting to me. I asked a lot of questions and brought the idea home and stewed on it for a few days. After talking it over with my hubby, we decided to give it a shot. Here is how it went after out first week.

Day 1: We explained the new ‘rules.” No one would be getting technology Monday-Thursday. They could earn time (to be used Friday after school and on the weekends) by doing chores around the house. This would include the 3 yr old. (Yes, I realize this means NO down time for ME!) Everyone was upset, resistant.

Day 2: Everyone (except the teenager) started doing more chores to earn their time. Little man (the 3 yr old) didn’t seem to miss it. Seems he wants what he sees his sisters with. This was a school day for the little guy, so we didn’t have a ton of downtime at home, that helped.

Day 3: We are starting to remind the kids that we are going out of town this weekend and that we will be in the van for a 3 hour car trip. Teenager is now asking how she can earn time, above and beyond the chores I have listed. I am seeing more interaction and play with little brother and more help around the house, without me asking.

Day 4: I didn’t have to remind anything to help with anything today. They jumped right in and helped around the house, and even asked if there was more they can do for us to earn more time.

Day 5: They get to be on screens today. We decided NOT to tell them their totals for the week. (To be honest, we weren’t great about keeping a log.) The younger two knew their devices didn’t have internet away from home, so they opted to watch a movie on the ride down. The older two played for a little bit, then opted to stop and “save some time for the following day!”

Day 6: We were with family (out of town) and they did play some on their devices but they enjoyed seeing cousins, playing board games and such.

Day 7: We are heading back to Texas today and they will use the remainder of their screen time today as they know we start over tomorrow.

Over all, this first week wasn’t perfect. It was great to see their eyes again. To have conversations with them about their day (beyond our normal “hi/low” conversation that we have at dinner each night) and I loved seeing them play with Nathan more. It was also nice to see them step up their game around the house. I didn’t have to ask for trash to be taken out, or beds to be made, or dishes to be done. They picked up Nathan’s toys, wipes counters, put away shoes and more. I like this new “normal” for our house. I think it will set them up for success later in life. That is the goal, after all… and I think it teaches them how to balance better. It’s been great for Steve and I as well. With less cleaning and decluttering for us, we have more time to be intentional with them! <3 How do you handle screen time in your home?

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