Our kids do pretty well when it comes to arguing over electronics. I have often mentally bragged about them in my head when I hear other moms complain of their troubles. We have had a rules from the start and stuck to them. My kids have always seemed respectful of the rules. A lot of that, I think, is because they know I mean them!
Rule NUMBER 1: NO ARGUING WHEN PLAYING! When you argue or things seem to tense… Mommy turns that crap off. I don’t care if you have saved, I don’t care about your high score. It is a GAME! You may play when you are having fun together and when I hear the fun stop the game stops too! It has worked pretty well. The very hastily correct friends or cousins when tempers get tense. It’s funny to watch.
RULE NUMBER 2: NO ELECTRONICS BEFORE 2! This rule includes TV too! Not just games. We have found that many times they come up with something else to do by 2 o’clock. They become invested in a board game, decide to play at a friends, or end up at the park behind our house. Obviously they are home after 2 during the school week, but… often they have homework or piano or youth night at church that takes up that time and we have never felt like the even have time to play during the week! Sometimes, but… they aren’t allowed to play unless EVERYONE is done with homework.
UNOFFICIAL RULE 3: We also don’t have many games that can’t be multi player. Very rarely are they allowed to play alone. Every family, every child, and every situation is different, but I have found that playing Xbox or Wii together is fun! We regularly enjoy beating our children at Smash Bros or Mario Party. Every now and then they play a single player game but, even then they are great about taking turns. For a while we only had 3 Xbox remotes and when they had a friend over even they were pretty good about switching every 10 minutes while playing Minecraft. We just feel like there are so many things they can to TOGETHER and sitting alone in front of the TV is just not necessary.
Now… with these rules we seem to have combated most of the “electronics issues” that I hear most parents complain about. But… devices are a slippery slope. Even in our home we have moments. These moments are sometimes due to lack of sleep because of a long spring break night, sometimes it is due to a newly downloaded game, sometimes its because I was lazy and not paying attention to how long they were on.
During Spring Break we had a few tense moments. My kids are not usually ones to jump on to their electronics at every turn. But… right before Spring Break we had some snow days (thank you New Jersey). We usually LOVE our snow days and do all kinds of inside fun stuff. Usually Snow Day Bingo! But this time they whipped out their devices every stinking time! And then had the nerve to say “One Second” when I asked them to turn the off again! Heathens! So… I came up with the quick chart below!
Its a pretty simple chart. It follows most of our rules but adds a few things I would like them to have done before noonish. Now they can have their lazy days when they want but… hopefully this helps them appreciate the device privileges a little more! No more asking if its almost lunch because they know soon after they get to play electronics! Earn it kids! Earn it!
I feel like most of these chores can work well in any home. I don’t make them do this list in order. One of my kids HAS to because it helps him focus. lol As long as it gets done! The tops of my kids dressers seem to get cluttered quickly so I threw that on there as a quick clean. Helped someone could be helping a sibling with a chore or helping me around the house… I have LOVED the creative one! My kids have made neat snacks, or made up a song on the piano. My favorite part is the cleaning up after the creative. They have gotten better about thinking of “clean” creative activities. Clean my room “mommy style” is a hard one. When I clean I throw things away. They have to put things away nicely and vacuum. lol It’s probably the hardest one on the list!
UPDATE: After using this for 2 months I am happy to announce that it has worked beautifully! The kids stick to the list, with very few forgetful moments where I have to remind them to check the list. And… that usually the 8 year old. It has been a great addition to our electronic life! Click above to print!