Summer Sanity Survival Tip #1

Wednesday June 29, 2011

I know most of North America has been out of school for at least month (it seems), but our summer is just getting started.

During the school year, we limit TV during the week and only allow Wii on the weekends.  When the TV is on, I like that I get a break, but dislike that the kids tend to zone out.   And when we let the kids play video games, they can get so CRANKY — they can’t solve the level, they get mad at their sibling for messing things up and they need “HELPPPPPP”, which makes this momma cranky.

So… now that school is out, I wanted to relax the restrictions, but not totally lose control. Here is the compromise I came up with.

Unlimited TV up to 9am*.

I like the morning hours to get stuff done for myself, but, I have some early risers as well.  If I lose those precious morning hours because the little people want my attention … let’s just say it does not make for a good day.   So, they get to zone out and watch Super Why, Martha, Curious George, etc., as long as they leave me in peace.  (We only get over-the-air broadcast channels, so their viewing options are pretty limited).

*After 9am, screen time may only be earned with book time.    1 minute of reading = 1 minute watching/playing/staring at a screen.

I created a quick spreadsheet that we are using to record reading time and screen time.

[You can download the Reading Chart For Yourself]

When a child does some reading, we mark it down with tally marks under the “Read” column.   When they watch a video, we write down the time on the “Watched” column and cross off the corresponding “read” minutes.

I figure we can work in a little math with our reading!

You may notice, my chart only has two of three kids represented.  My youngest, at three, is not old enough to read by himself.

I will read to him, but it would be even better if his siblings read to him.   I decided they can earn double time credit if they read to their little brother.    And since he’s too little to really participate, he’ll get to watch as much as the lowest performing sibling (in other words, if one child earns an hour of screen time but the other only earns 30 minutes, he gets 30 minutes).

I am excited about this approach to get my kids really reading this summer.   There are a ton of great summer reading reward programs to take advantage of, so I hope this will ignite the spark.

It’s only Day Two, but so far, this approach Works For Me.   Find more tips at Works For Me Wednesday, hosted by We Are That Family.   I’ll have to follow up later in summer and report how the plan is working.

Stay tuned for my Summer Sanity Survival Tip #2!

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2 Responses to Summer Sanity Survival Tip #1

  1. 1
    Alea Milham says:

    That sounds like a great system! I especially like double points for reading to a younger sibling! 🙂

  2. 2

    This is awesome! I’m also glad to hear that your kids get grumpy too when they play video games – they argue and fight and come away angry too. Limiting has helped us …. some!

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