Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Big Kids

I have a love/hate relationship with the DSi handhelds we gave our children for their birthdays. I love them on long car trips and in waiting rooms. I love that I finally have a discipline currency that works (for the boys). I love how independent they allow the children to feel and the responsibility it is teaching them regarding caring for them, keeping track of their games and saving money towards additional games they want.

I hate having to debate how much of their 'screen time' each child has used for the day--keeping track of it hurts my brain some days. While they are allowed one hour of total screen time a day (Wii, Nintendo, videos, computer) some days I have trouble explaining that getting that hour is not guaranteed. Screen time is not an inalienable right--it is a privilege!

I hate the powerful control these litte electronic devices seem to have over my children. Any time we see another child with one in public it has a Pied Piper effect. I hate the reminder of how big they are now.

Some days I just look at them and think: Did you age in your sleep? Wow, you look big today!

This was one of those mornings.


Kate said...

You could make a chart for them on a whiteboard and just check off their minutes. Or even easier, make and laminate 15 minute 'coupons' (in three different colors of course, one for each child) that they can hand over to you throughout the day. If they lose the privilege just ask them for the coupons for that day. That way THEY keep hold of the coupons and you do nothing to keep track. :o)

dee said...

They do look big - and they are PRECIOUS!

nen said...

i like how they can all fit in one chair comfortably!

JMom said...

Kate- I love that suggestion.
Dee- Thanks.
Nen- We have some personal space issues around here...no recognition of what that means. :-)

Amber said...

We had the same issue with all our screen time (TV, Wii, computer, handhelds). Our children are 4 and 6. We made foam door hangers with painted wooden magnets on them (peel and stick magnets from WalMart). Each child has 4 a day good for 30min. We don't take them away as punishment, but instead use a Discipline Ladder. (I adapted the idea from the Dilley's who successfully raised sextuplets.)

We wanted a system that helped the children understand rights and privileges. We all lead blessed lives and entitlement takes hold with little ones very easily.

We have our House Rules and Discipline Ladder posted on a corkboard and each child has a pin. When they break a house rule we tell them how many steps to move down. When they demonstrate fruits of the Spirit, we move them up. They can do what is listed at that step and below, but nothing above.

This is ours:
1 Full Privileges
2 Leapsters and ITouch
3 May Attend Outings and Playdates
4 May Play Outside
5 May Use Screen-Time Tokens
6 Play Downstairs and Playroom
7 Board Games and Coloring Books
in Bedroom
8 Toys in Bedroom, No extra-curr activities
9 Books and Workbooks in Bedroom
10 Chores and Quiet Time in Bedroom

(in the winter we will probably swap "play outside" and "screen time")

It has worked great so far. We also have a separate system for chores and responsibilities that has been fabulous! I got it from a mom of 5. I will be doing a post about all of these this week.


Kelly @ Love Well said...

I feel your pain. My six-year-old is obsessed with his Leapster. I'm glad he enjoys it, and I like how educational it is, and I like that I have (how did you say it?) discipline currency. :-)

But it is hard to regulate, and I don't like looking over at him and seeing him look like a drone.

I guess that's the way it is with all screens, though. I bet my kids could say the same thing about me and the computer.

(They DO look big. But my goodness, they are gorgeous.)

storey said...

the do look SO big! makes me a little sad that when i see you again, they're going to be all gone up :( (and Im not even their mama, can't imagine how it is for you!) BUT at the same time I can't wait to see what all God has in store for these three incredibly huge hearts!

Tara said...

We have huge issues with the screen and our eldest child. His teacher was telling me recently that at school they have to limit computer on-time as he gets so sucked into watching others, or sit him where he cannot see it at all. At home it is the same, tv and computer - he loves them.

As hard as it is we limit it quite strictly and I pray that we will be able to teach him both self-control and to find enjoyment outside these things.

Hallie said...

My, aren't they beautiful kiddos?!

Peter and Nancy said...

We have held out on game systems of any kind until this year -- we just got a little plug & play Spiderman game for our son's 8th birthday. (Our 9-year-old son is pretty happy about it too!)

We will probably try to find a used Wii next year, though -- our 4th child (and 2nd adoption) will require us to spend 6-8 weeks sticking close to home. It's good for me to hear how all of you parcel out screen time . . . gives me good ideas!

Shannon and Carey said...

Oh JMom...they are so precious. They ARE growing aren't they? I haven't been to the blog in a couple of weeks (Geee I wonder why? lol) and I saw P in his glasses....I thought "That's not J's kid" but it was. Your kids are precious and I like how you are keeping track of that screen time. We were just talking about this as our kids still use the Pixter their cousins handed down to them.
Happy summer.
Shannon in Austin