How many times does the drama over screen time come up in your house? If it’s anything like ours the war over children’s screen time is a neverending battle. One wants to use the computer because her brother is on it. The other wants to join his friends on the Ark: Survival Evolved server but he’s already been on for hours.
It got to a point where I knew I needed to limit screen time. I also wanted to find a way for them to earn screen time rather than just getting it because they wanted it. The screen time chore charts I came up with solved that problem with little to no issues. They both had to do chores to earn screen time.
There were no more battles of who gets what because they signed up for what they wanted in 2-hour blocks. In addition, there were no more days of gaming. They are now limited to 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening. On school days, they get 2 hours in the evening.
As a family of gamers, we’re the last ones to get rid of screen time. I am a firm believer that screen time can play an important part in our kids’ lives. Both of my children have flourished by using skills learned using technology.
My son has a large group of friends at school that are all gamers. Whether on Fortnite or Smite they are almost inseparable. He has always been a shy little guy. Connecting with friends through games was a great way to break the ice. He has now formed great bonds with several boys. He discusses strategy with them, goofs off with them, and socialize with them daily at school.
My daughter, who is on the autism spectrum has many social struggles. It was often much easier for her to socialize online. It was great practice because if something bothers her she can easily walk away. She has had great success in finding herself and her voice through character roleplaying on Minecraft and Roblox.
Rather than being the stereotypical mom who “plops her kids in front of the tv” I’m quite active in their screen time. I have my own Xbox account and play online with them often. I know all of the YouTubers they are fans of. As a lifelong gamer myself I love sharing that interest of mine with them. ( Although it is unbelievably frustrating that your 11-year-old is better than you at EVERYTHING)
If you’ve been around for a while you may remember that my daughter has the diagnoses of ASD, DMDD, and CD. One thing that we learned quickly with her was that traditional discipline will not work. In all honesty, I’ve never been big on “discipline” anyway so that’s just fine with me. In order to find a way to get through to her, we began looking into positive reinforcement with the help of our ABA therapists. It wasn’t an overnight change but after a while, it really started to show positive results.
In contrast to traditional discipline which takes away for bad behaviors positive reinforcement gives children privileges or rewards for positive behaviors. It can be a great way to help children build confidence and see positive results for good behavior.
This simple screen time chore chart uses the principle of positive reinforcement. By doing the chores listed for the day children have the chance to earn their screen time. This also allows the decision to be up to them. They can decide to not earn screen time a certain day or to earn less than the full amount of time. I do not allow going over the two-hour limit but if you would like to that’s perfectly fine.
This chart is quite similar to my fun cards in an earlier post on chores. The only major difference is that rather than doing chores for money they are doing them for screen time. Just like before children have the ability to choose the chores that they would like to do each day. This helps them to contribute and be responsible but to not feel trapped doing the same thing every day. It also is helpful to eliminate any “he always gets the easy chores” complaints.
I make a new list each day and place up on our daily dry erase board. There are some repeat chores that are done every day. This includes dishes, sweeping, or cleaning bedrooms. Other chores come from the needs of the day. Perhaps the laundry needs to be done. Maybe the dog needs to be washed. You can use what is going on around you to help choose chores to add to the list for them to choose from.
In the example below, you can see that there is a chore listed and an amount of time that one can earn from completing it. Larger chores are worth more time while smaller chores are worth less.
You can print out your own copy of the chore chart below to personalize with your own chores. You can make one chart for everyone to share or make individual ones for each child. I’ve added the name area at the bottom to help keep things separated. You can easily tailor each chart to the individual child’s ability level.
You can leave the same chart up every day or print out a new one each day to update with that day’s tasks that need to be completed. I do the latter because we have a lot of chores that just seem to pop up out of the blue.
The screen time signup sheet is a great tool that we use to help avoid arguments between siblings. When one signs up for a block of time it’s set in stone and there for everyone to see. This way they are unable to say “she’s on during my time” or “he’s been on for too long.”
As an added bonus the signup sheet lets me help plan my day around when they will have free time. It is important for them to have time to spend with their friends online. We live pretty far out in a rural area so they don’t get much time with kids from the neighborhood like I did growing up. Playing games online lets them socialize and grow friendships that extend to school.
You can grab a copy of the screen time sign up sheet below to add your children to and personalize as you see fit. You can print a new one out each day or add a protective sleeve and use a dry erase marker to sign up time for each day.
If you decide to give it a try be sure to leave a comment and let us know how it works out for you. We’d love to know what changes you made to make it work better for your family as well! If you found this chart helpful please be sure to share with your friends on social media!
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Ghastly is a paranormal historian living in Arkansas. She writes on mental health, chronic illness, crafting (or at least trying to), and her love of cupcakes when she isn't herding cats or homeschooling her special needs daughter.