One of my summertime struggles is managing media. iPads, television, video games, movies, and on and on and on.
Summer days are long, and if I let them, my kids would veg out eating ice cream in their underwear watching reruns of Phineas and Ferb.
Case in point:
I dutifully tell my kids that media is like sugar for the brain. It’s fun, it feels good, but too much of it can hurt us.
Shockingly, my brilliant metaphor isn't inspiring enough for them to make good media choices on their own. But I'm not super interested in playing Media Police all summer. So here’s the way my husband and I handle this.
First, we have a passcode on all electronics, including our TV. This way, kids can only get on with permission. Sure, the codes get cracked by stealthy little eyes, or sometimes I am forced to reveal the code in a hostage situation (“10 minutes of peace is all I need- I beg you! The code is 2354! I repeat, 2354! Now go! GO!!”) so I am constantly resetting the digits, but it’s all good.
If you do not have a code on your devices or TV, stop reading this right now and have a good cry. And we will have a moment of silence for you, because your life is harder than it needs to be.
*Moment of Silence*
Now. For the rest of you.
Media Tickets are awarded for completing important duties, a-like so: Reading for 20 min = 5 min of media 3 Chores = 10 min media Practice Piano 30 min = 10 min media Math Flashcards 15 min = 5 min of media
And so on. Make up your own list and slap it on your fridge. Kids can cash in immediately or save up time for a longer viewing period. Some printable Media Tickets are attached, but using random scrap paper torn into strips and written on with a dull crayon works, too (that’s how I roll. I made Brooke design the cute printables for your convenience. Click here to download them.).
Benefits: *Cuts down on whining for media *Gives kids ownership over media habits *Motivates kids to complete undesirable tasks *Limits daily media consumption
In our home, we aren’t consistent with Media Tickets because we don’t always need them. Sometimes we'll have a good stretch where the electronics are forgotten for a while. But whenever a kid starts getting a little too glazey-eyed, or there is weeping-wailing-gnashing-of-teeth because Mario Kart was turned off, we pull out the big guns.
How do YOU manage media during the summer? We’d love to hear in the comments below.
Have a savvy summa!