Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tech Tickets; or, how to pry the video game controller out of your kid's deformed, claw-like hands

Summer drags on. There's still a whole month of it left! My kids are BORED, you guys.

Boredom = too much screen time. It's mathematical fact. We start out the day with cartoons, and then it's hot and I've got stuff to do and suddenly it's noon and I'm like wait, are you guys seriously still on the couch?? So we turn it off and then 4 minutes later they're SO BORED MOM THERE'S NOTHING TO DO PLEASE CAN I JUST PLAY TEMPLE RUN ON YOUR PHONE PLEASE PLEASE!

Now. We still use our Bored Jar pretty consistently, and it does work. But still, it's a constant battle of "No, no more TV. No, you cannot play on my phone. No, you don't need to play the Wii again." Yesterday the 7 year old took the Bored Jar around the corner and MAGICALLY pulled the ONE slip that involves playing video games. AMAZING!

So I hit up Pinterest and came across some good ideas for screen time management, including Technology Tickets. I didn't invent the idea, there are lots of much better and more imaginative bloggers out there who shared their awesomeness first. My favorite was this one from Mudpies and Makeup. I borrowed some of her ideas and put my own spin on them, to make them fit our family. She has a free printable over there, though, if you're interested! I totally don't. I'm not that handy, and I'm not that helpful.*

I chose to give them each 12 tickets at the start of the week. This is because we're normally not home on Sundays, so it's the other 6 days of the week I'm worried about. Twelve tickets gives them an hour a day for those 6 days. I didn't want them to have to earn every ticket so I'm giving them an hour a day to start, but we will be using them as a discipline tool, too. And knowing my feisty 7 year old, she may lose more tickets than she uses at first. BUT I built in some ways to earn them back, or to earn extras, by doing educational or helpful activities around the house. WIN-WIN.

To make the Tech Tickets "board":

I designed the rule sheet, printed it on card stock, then made the tickets and cute little library pockets with my Silhouette Cameo and scrapbook paper. If you have a Silhouette, I used this file for the tickets (I chose to fill them and print them, then just cut them out with scissors because my Silhouette machine was doing other things and I was too impatient to wait and use it to cut them all nice and pretty). I laminated them for extra strength, then used this file to make the pockets out of scrapbook paper that looked like lined paper (I had to resize the pockets somewhat to fit my tickets). I cut the names in vinyl using a typewritery font, and stuck them on the pockets.

Then I just glued the rules sheet and the pockets to a piece of 12x12 scrapbook paper and hung it up in the kitchen. I thought about adding a third pocket for "used" tickets, but then I wised up and realized we'd better put them up somewhere out of reach to ensure nobody tries to...recycle. Yeah, Bianca is a sneaky one. We're working on it. Don't judge.

Jack is only 2, but he loves to do everything just like his sister, so he'll like turning in his own tickets. He's big enough to ask for my phone constantly, so I guess he's big enough to go get a ticket and hand it over first!

So. Today is day 1 of the Great Tech Ticket Experiment, and I'm at work (on my lunch break! Calm down!). So the O.G. is home with the kiddos and I guess I'll find out when I get home whether it worked. :)

Why am I expecting to come home to find all the tickets either used up or lost?

*UPDATE!! So many of you asked that I went ahead and made myself helpful after all. You can download the pdf of my sign here.