But mom!

No one tells you that when you have kids after the year 2000 that you will experience arguments and tantrums over electronics and games in which sheep resemble blocks.

As our kids have gotten older it has become harder and harder to find good, cheap, active entertainment to engage us all during the summer months. You can only do the same things so many times. While our kids are lucky enough to have befriended a few other neighborhood kids there are many days that they are just as content playing Minecraft. All. Day. Long. They don’t just play the game. They watch videos about the game. They download numerous other apps to their tablets to use in the game. They talk about the game. All. The. Time.

As a parent I know that I have to limit screen time and kick their butts outside, but honestly we live in Arkansas and sometimes it’s just too miserable to go out. I also know that allowing the kiddos to look at their tablets all day doesn’t teach them anything about responsibility and consequences. Where are you going with all of this Ber? I’m getting there, I promise.

We feel that it’s incredibly important to start teaching youngsters responsibility at an early age. Mr. Ber and I share household responsibilities with the hope that our kids will see that running our household is a team effort. The kids are part of that team. Believe me when I say that this is how Mr. Ber tries to end many arguments between our 8 year olds. “There will come a day that you two have to rely on each other. What team are we on?” I may or may not be making team shirts for this very reason.

Inevitably there are days when the kids do get away with all day screen time. I know there are some parents that just scoffed at that sentence, but you know what? It happens. These days make all the other days harder and sometimes lead to tantrums. To remedy the situation I realized that I would need to implement something that would benefit us all. Right now I wish we had some amazing tip that would blow you away, but really it’s simple. Simplicity is the easiest!

Every night tablets are turned in before bed. In order to earn them back the next day the kids are required to make their beds (to my standards, those poor souls) and complete at least one chore. The chores aren’t difficult. One may take out trash from the bathrooms while the other sweeps a room. After breakfast tablets are returned to them. Later in the day tablets are turned in again and the kids complete another chore. They may clean up their rooms or put away laundry before earning their tablets back. It’s normally at this point in the day when the tantrums start, but should they choose to throw a tantrum instead of completing the chores they don’t get their tablet back until the next day. Once chores are completed they get are allowed their tablets and turn them in again at the end of the day.

Honestly, I was surprised to see this system work for our kiddos. There have been many a failed system here, but that’s life. After the first couple of days they were asking me what chores I wanted them to complete each morning and had their beds made before they were reminded to do so. We’re now met with very little resistance when we tell them it’s time to turn in the electronics. My hope in all of this is that the kids see that we are rewarded for hard work and good behavior. I also hope to have a cleaner house, but I think that’s the hope of every parent.

What works in your household? We’re always open to trying new things and sharing with other parents! Leave a comment below.

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