Wednesday, October 3, 2012

making a token effort

Three hours into the hump-day of school holidays, I heard the words spew forth from my mouth;

Will you just go outside? You've been in front of a screen for hours!

You may or may not have found my incredulous tone somewhat hypocritical, considering that I was perusing blogs and texting my sister at the time. Sometimes, you've just got to drop the whole bundle so you can pick up your sticks and make a better arrangement, right?

The thing is, I really like TV. I have loved lots of series in my lifetime, particularly dramas. TV has always been part of my life, like sitting up watching black and white movies with my mum when I was sick. I like escaping at the end of the day, but at the same time resent the time sucked away, just mindlessly staring.

And the worst is watching the mindless stare in my babes. Eyes transfixed, ears unhearing. Imagination stunted. The horrific reaction of a three-year-old when it's time to pack the iPad away. I know that TV, especially children's TV, whilst being physically passive, is actually emotionally and intellectually hyper-stimulating. I don't want our routine to be dictated by the big black box, I don't want the first thing we do when we wake up or come home to be switching on the telly.

Solution? Our super-special token system. Each kid gets three tokens per day, each token is worth half-an-hour of screen time. Anal-teacher-me really wanted to crack open photoshop and make up some lovely tokens, but I ended up outsourcing the graphic design to an up-and-coming seven-year-old I know.

Whilst I seriously admire (and secretly wish for) no actual TV, I know that cold turkey wouldn't work for our addicted little gang. So this is my attempt to reign it in a little. Here's the rules:
  • non-commercial channels only, and only ABC3 when the littles aren't around.
  • half hour outside play between each token use
  • a whole movie costs three tokens, except on Friday, which is movie and pizza night at our place
  • no google or youtube on the internets. Pre-approved sited only thanks!
  • tokens will be taken away for inappropriate use or chucking a tantie when time is up.
  • bonus tokens may also be earned for being gorgeous/helpful/kind/just because we like you.
Today was lovely, fingers crossed it continues to work! How do you keep a handle on the screens at your place?


  1. Maybe my two aren't yet old enough to argue with me about TV time, but when I say it's time to turn it off, they both usually rush over to turn it off. As I type this I realise this makes it sound as though I have beautifully compliant children. I don't. I allow half an hour of Playschool and a bit extra, but that's it. It might be because the thing we're turning the TV off for is more appealing (dinner, play on the trampoline, craft etc). I imagine I might have bigger problems as they get older!

  2. That's a great idea.
    I don't mind a little tv either - especially our faves Playschool or Mr. Maker.
    Buuut - it's the zombie look and the reluctance to turn the silly thing off once it's on that gets me.
    :-) x

  3. That is such a great idea!
    I don't think my daughter would mind so much, as she's usually doing things like sewing at the same time as watching tv, but my son would flip! He really struggles with finding something to occupy his time, even though we live on 2 acres and have numerous animals!!
    Think I might have to give it a go :)
    Rach x



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...