Thursday, June 18, 2015

Mom vs. Minecraft

 Summer is fun. Summer is great. But, these days what my kids THINK summer means is unlimited amounts of time doing electronics.

We don't have kindles or games or any electronics in their rooms (including a TV *gasp*). We also don't have any formals (dining or living) or an office (it's a pretty small house with generous size bedrooms) so this is in our one group area, our family room/great room. 

We like this because we have a lot of control over what they are doing/seeing. This is Everett's computer workstation. Evie uses the one on the other half of the desk, our family laptop. 

We have implemented a system called Computer Time which works really well. (When I say 'we', obviously I mean Eric!!). It takes away the constant back and forth battle over how much time they get, how much time they have, and when it's time to turn it off. Those parameters are all predetermined by us in advance. When they log in, it's all there. This includes scheduled breaks between sessions and a countdown so they have a chance to finish/log off what they are doing. It's a GREAT program.

We still have some rules. Before you can get on at all, you have to do your chores. Right now, these include: 

Getting dressed and making your breakfast. Sadly, with Everett, I DO have to actually put getting dressed and eating on the list. He will just be 'not hungry' if a computer is available.

Last summer, we decided it was time for Everett to start using the toaster oven on his own. He eats a bagel with peanut butter every morning and after about a week of close supervision, I released him to do it on his own and he has done a great job.

We have recently added clearing off breakfast dishes (and all the REST of the stuff that accumulates there) followed by spraying/wiping the table as well. I LOVE seeing this mid morning!

Everett has one extra task each morning and that is to wipe down the toilet seat with a Clorox wipe. If you have boys, no explanation is needed on this!

The remaining before-computer-time tasks are sort your dirty laundry (We have two large sorting hampers in the laundry room)...

and make your bed. 

Now, I learned a long time ago that if you delegate, you must detach from the outcome. Is this how I would make the bed? No. Do I think he can do better? Yes. But, I'm more concerned with establishing a habit here. We will work on form later. Today, he was super excited to show me the bottom bunk where he lined up all the angry birds. It's a start :D

His room in general is a disaster. But, we clean rooms on Saturday. Also, since I am actually TRYING to get him in there to play with his toys more, I'm not gonna worry about it right now. He's discovering toys he had completely forgotten about this week. 

After they have done their chores, they get between 60-120 minutes of computer play with a scheduled break in the middle. If they are being total pigs and I'm picking up (or tripping over) their stuff all the time, daily time gets dialed back. If they are consistent with picking up, it gets dialed up.

When they run out of time but want more....they get to earn time tokens by helping me with my daily chores. 

Everett will usually do one or two things, earning 15-30 minutes of time. I usually start with easy stuff like doing a 5 minute pick up of the living room, or putting random stuff away, or the dishwasher.

After that, the chores get more involved, and at that point he usually opts to read or play in his room.

That's how we are handling computer time at our house. How about you? How are you keeping the peace?

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