I’m going to interrupt my San Francisco Virtual Tour to tie-up loose ends on our series: Experience Not Things.
If you’ll recall, at the close of our post Experiences Not Things: Part II, we promised our sneaky little motivator for children to help around the house– and then, we didn’t deliver! Well, today is the day, just in under the one month mark, the last in our three-part series.
Most families ask kids to contribute to household chores. Our children are expected to: make bed, help set/clear table, pick-up toys on a daily basis. But for all the other household chores that come into our day to day, the children earn Media Minutes. Each task is tied to a number of minutes that can be used to either watch a TV show on our streaming television or used for tablet time.
Dry mopping the wood floor: 3 minutes
Putting a load of laundry in washer: 3 minutes
Hanging up wet laundry: 3 minutes
Putting away laundry: 3 minutes
Cleaning bathroom sinks: 5 minutes
Feeding the Dog: 1 minute
Unloading the dishwasher: 5 minutes
Carrying in groceries: 3 minutes
Dusting: 3 minutes
Wiping down kitchen cabinets: 5 minutes
Wiping down appliances: 5 minutes
Washing interior windows (within reach): 5 minutes
You get the idea. This has been a great tool for us- it takes the power struggle out of media and gives them the tools to make choices about how they want to spend their time. Right now, my kids are at an age where helping with household chores is fun– usually, they get started, and forget all about television and playing on the tablet. This is a perfect grow with me system that can evolve as kids age– chores can be added and values of minutes can be changed as needed.
But, we live in the real world. The television is a babysitter in our house too. It has to be- when else can I make dinner without burning something?! We allow one “free” 30 minute program (usually a PBS show) at about that time of day where everyone is crabby and hungry. Since starting this system, their overall media consumption has dropped, the house has become much neater, and the experience of having some control over a parent-directive has fostered independence–the ultimate goal of a parent.