Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Boo’s behavior took a downhill slide over Christmas break. To the point that I wasn’t sure if she was going to make it to her 7th birthday. I’ll freely admit that parenting does not come naturally to me. So I have been looking for a behavior system that is effective for Boo and something easy enough that I won’t fall of the bandwagon after a couple days.

There were a couple of things I knew I wanted to incorporate into our system:

1) Boo’s “thing” is watching TV. And recently she has taken to using the computer to watch TV shows – actually one – Fetch with Ruff Ruffman. The system had to limit her screen time to a manageable amount.

2) To that end – the system had to both limit her screen time and reward with it at the same time.

3) I wanted the system to be a positive reward system, but to allow for negative consequences as well, due to the nature of the issues we are having with her.

Seems like a tall order, right? Well, a while back I had looked into starting a token ecomony system, but it seem a little extreme and complex to benefit us. But at the time I had bought poker chips and they were sitting in the cabinet unused.

So how I could I use these chips in a more simplified way? It finally came to me last week. It’s only been in effect for the last three days, but we are amazed how quickly she took to the system and how effective it is for us.

This is our little plan:

1 chip = A half hour of TV or computer time

Daily allowance of chips (red chips)–
2 chips on school days (one hour worth)
4 chips on non-school days (two hour worth)
(Red chips do not carry over to another day if not spent)

White chips can be EARN by:
Doing special chores as requested (not normal daily chores)
Reading for a half hour
White chips are worth the same as red chips but can be saved up and spent when desired.

This system does not require Boo to spend chips during our family movie time – right now we are working our way through the Red Dwarf series every Friday night.

Red chips can be taken away for negative behavior – if she has a red chip taken away, she cannot spend any white chips that day.

Three bags hang on our refrigerator:
“Elisabeth’s” bag of daily and saved white tokens
“Used” bag of tokens used that day.
Up higher I keep another bag of extra white tokens and the two extra red tokens for non-school days.

If has been amazing to watch my couch potato voluntarily turn the TV off and find other things to do. She’s aware of how she wants to spread out her tokens during the day and is willing to not spend them all in one sitting.

This from a child who would have a tantrum meltdown the minute I turned off the TV. But now it seems, by setting limits I have given her more power. Funny how that works.

Have you found a way to limit screen time that works for your kids? Leave a comment and let us know how it’s going!

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