25 February 2008

Tie video game time "currency" to chores

Rich is a man after my own heart:

My kids were addicted to their video games and would give us attitude when we asked them to do chores. So we fixed that right away: we put the kids on a point system where when they do chores, they earn points that can be "spent" on video game time.

Cleaning room = 2 points
Help with laundry = 2 points
Clean kitchen = 2 points
Eat new foods = 1 point
Do homework = 1 point
etc.

REWARDS: 5 points for 30 mins of video game time OR $1.00 towards a new toy or video game.

I have a "Talk Amongst Yourself" post about video game addiction brewing in my head, so I'll save my rant for then.

In the meantime, I think this is a great idea. In general, it's always good to remind kids about the difference between rights (food, shelter, clothing, etc.) and privileges (lollipops, video game time, brand-name sneakers, etc.).

Related: Print your own "screen time" tickets

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Getting a point for eating new foods - LOL! I haven't seen that one before, but that could work.

When I got a Wii, my four-year-old daughter wanted to play. I told her that her room had to be clean and jobs done before she could play.

I am astounded at the change in her. Astounded!

Her room has been /immaculate/ for going on four months now. She also is now very tough on her friends to make sure they clean up their messes after they play in her room. This was a complete 180 from how she was before with keeping her belongings cleaned up and organized, not just in her room but around the house.

It goes the other way too, though. I have to set the example. If the dishes aren't put away, trash isn't taken out, bedroom messy, etc. then I don't get to play either.

My three-year-old has seen this example being set by his sister and myself and follows this rule as well. He came in the living room the other day very proud because he had cleaned up his entire room (which is pretty good for a three-year-old when his room is a disaster). He asked me, "Dad I cleaned my entire room, so now can I play Wii?" I checked it and it was true, he had really cleaned up everything himself.

As a grown-up-gamer/father, I am actually quite pleased to see this positive effect of having the Wii. The amazing change in my daughter of now working to keep her room immaculate all the time is well worth the price of the Wii. :)

If you want to see a video of her playing Wii bowling, it's pretty cute.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxaLEd_UYHU

Personally I don't think points should be awarded for things that they are supposed to do like homework. Homework should be done before video games. I do have to say I love the idea for points. I think I will use that for computer time and video game time. I might have to set a max points that can be use in one day. In fact I should put myself on a point system.

This also works great for TV time as well. My 9 year old was watching more TV than I wanted and we decided to try using TV Tickets everyday. She gets 2 hours of tickets each day (in 30 minute increments). Once they are gone, no more TV can be watched. But the best part is that she can save up her tickets to watch a movie or have more time on the weekend. One of the best things that has come out of this, is that she is conscienciously making a choice to not watch as much TV.

This is a great way to give them control and feel good about what they are doing. Plus, you have the ability to give them as much or as little of TV time as you think is necessary. Our TV time is also strictly guided by if chores and homework are finished.

Just a side note on the tickets...We also use them to correct behavior by taking away TV time. (for example: If she doesn't clean out the litter box 2 times a day, she gets a ticket taken away) This has really helped my daughter stay on track and hopefully it will continue. :o)

Wow! I never would have thought of using the Wii points as a reward system. Too bad mine aren't quite old enough for that (at least not the games we have).

I love the idea of points for trying new food! I have a friend that never had a blueberry until I forced him to at the age of 20.

I'm guessing that my wife will see this post tomorrow and start a point-chart for my Wii time.

We had a whole system when I was a kid. My mom sat down with each kid and we decided on the types of rewards we would like to earn (TV time, candy, Barbie dolls, etc) and decided on relative sizes of each (e.g. a candybar was 25 points, a Barbie was 350) Then, my mom decided which chores/tasks would be worth points, and how much. She also included a way to lose points: if we didn't do a particular task, we could lose points. For instance... Make your bed before breakfast without being reminded= +3 points. Make your bed before breakfast with reminder= +1 point. Make your bed after breakfast= -1 point. Don't make your bed all day= -3 points. It was a reward and punishment system all in one. Plus, it taught us to work toward larger rewards and delay gratification!

One thing I don't quite get: I have two kids (7&4), so if one is using his ticket of tv time/Wii, the other one can watch too because the tv is in the living room (we don't like tvs in kids rooms). So any ideas on how to work around that? I mean, if the other one has already used up his tickets, he can still watch some more... I'm stumped.

Karina, we also have two kids, and a ticket economy. The child who has tickets chooses the show or game, and if it is a video game, they can choose to include their sibling (we always try to buy multi-player games), and they usually share. We have to limit tv tickets to one 30 minute ticket per child during the week (no game tickets in the week), due to needing to save time for homework and reading and general goofing around. They each get two tickets per weekend day, which can be pooled for movies and game tickets on weekends too. I love the idea of earning more points, especially for trying new foods!!! We also have Mystery Tickets which just randomly show up once in a while for special treats, like going out to dinner, or to a movie. The boys drew their own tickets, and then I scanned and printed them.

With it being so cold with rain/snow that has prevented the kids from going outside the Wii has actually been on their chore list.

We pay so much per day for chores, they aren't based on items done. If they don't get a chore done for the day then they don't get paid, this is assuming they have ample time to complete them.

Numerous times I've put the Wii on their chore and they love it, but we limit how much they can play at the same time.

I should use that system to motivate myself!

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