No Screentime Until…

Spring break is here! I didn’t really have a plan at first, other than our various appointments and a trip to the local bounce house. But then a friend posted a link on Facebook (heck if I can find it now) with a list of things that your kids must accomplish each day before they are allowed Screen Time. I think it was intended for kids when they are home for the summer, and I think  spring break is a perfect way to try it out. If it goes well this week, we just may be implementing it for summer and Christmas breaks as well!

I made some minor adjustments to the list, and here it is:

NO SCREENTIME UNTIL:
1) You have read for 20 minutes
2) You have checked the common areas to be sure your things are put away (toys, clothes, wrappers)
3) You have checked your room to be sure it is clean (bed, clothes, toys)
4) You have played, built, crafted or have done something else creative for 40 minutes
5) You have finished one chore (and it’s done well enough that Mom/Dad will say that you did a great job)

I didn’t expect a lot of pushback from Natalie, because she isn’t obsessed with video games or tv. She can spend hours doing crafts, playing “house”, or even doing chores or cleaning her room. It’s Luke I thought I would get resistance from, because he is the one obsessed with video games. Whenever he requires punishing, we take away his screen time and he FREAKS the FUDGE out.

Yet once again I am surprised and happily amazed at my children. I had forgotten how much my son is like me. I see myself in him when he is frustrated with his homework and wants to give up, and the stories I hear from his teachers are probably eerily similar to the reports my teachers gave when I was his age. He and I have strong perfectionist tendencies, attention to detail, and are easily distracted. But I forgot about the List Factor. I love lists. I use them daily, and they really do help me function. In the past, I have found short to-do lists scattered around Luke’s room, and they always make me chuckle.  So, when I presented this list to the kids yesterday morning, Luke was all over it. He was so focused on accomplishing each task on the list; he was even setting the timer so there would be no question that each thing was done just right. Surely this excitement and eager cooperation would not last more than a day, so I made sure to cherish the moments.

But then today! Today he was ready to go all over again. “Mama, where did you put the list? What chore can I do today?” I’m not even kidding you. He really said these things. I’m in heaven. He did the dishes and wiped down the counters, and then he built a fort with his sister. It’s 11:30 and I haven’t heard one request to play video games (but since he’s reading over my shoulder and he’s a Mr. Smartypants, that will come soon). Yup, there it is. With a big cheesy grin… “Can I play video games downstairs?”

We are having so much fun. Big, cheesy grins all around.

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