When I was young there was no mobile phone, computer games were two sticks and a dot and the internet was not yet born. Having children in the modern day is full of challenges. How many hours should you let your children play on computer games before their eyeballs go square. How do you prize them of the internet once they’ve discovered the ‘wonders’ of facebook?
Being a single mum I can’t be in more than one place. I can’t clock watch, prise, cook, help with homework and remain sane. I am human. So I have a sort of token system to help with my children and the wonders of modern technology.
My children are both kitted out with mobiles. More as a safety reason as they live both here and at their Dads. Although I can manage top ups every other month, over usage stretches my budget. To keep things under control and to help around the house, the children earn their top ups in the form of chores. Here is how I do it.
I worked out a list of manageable chores for each of them.
I then worked out how many chores they could practically do a week. For example they won’t empty the dishwasher every day as they aren’t here every day.
Working with my monthly budget, I worked out how much each chore should be worth. So if they empty the dishwasher every day they are here (plus their other chores) they can nearly earn the full amount of their top up in the desired time. I say nearly so that it encourages a Mum Clause to be done.
I added a ‘Mum Clauses’. I can add an unspecified amount for exceptional behaviour. For things like, acting on intuitive without being asked. If my daughter sees the washing machine has finished and puts the washing out to dry without being asked, I smile with pride and produce a Mum Clause Bonus. The Mum Clause also means I can take money off for bad behaviour.
Internet and Computer Games.
When my children first found the wonders of facebook and playing computer games, I first let them play when they wanted. It was all new, shiny and exciting. They of course used both far too much. They got irritable and tired and just plain horrible.
So i made some tokens (got nifty with some blank postcards).
I worked out a sensible weekly time allowance for the internet and games. This was roughly half what they had previously been using.
On each card I wrote ½ hour on each card till made up the weekly allowance.
The cards are dished out to each child once a week. It is up to them then to use their tokens when they want.
Again if they are exceptionally good I will dish out a free ½ hour or take away tokens for bad behaviour.
Both systems give the children some responsibility and I think its this that stops them throwing a tantrum when its time for the off button. I think this is I don’t use the internet/games tokens all the time any more as both the children have a more adult approach to the internet and computer games. If they show signs of sliding though, I will be wiping out the cards again. I think both systems have helped to teach the children a tiny part of the value of time, money and responsibility.