Winter and cold have set in here in the Midwest. We love the fireplace, the comfort food, the baking, the warm sweaters.
We do miss our bike rides, walking the dog a couple times a day, bird watching from the backyard, the hammock, swimming and the warm sun on our faces. Being indoors makes it so easy to rely on the babysitter box. The shiny stream of colors, sounds, and sarcastic humor running 24 hour day with over a hundred choices. The television.
I find each year at this time I reach a point where I am done with tv. I court the idea of turning off the cable once again to make my point for a few months. I'm not turning it off because I like it too. I like goofy shows like Lock-Up, Hoarders, Storage Wars, HGTV, and Law and Order is always on.
So, to limit the television coma that will melt the brains of the children in my care I returned this month to a tried and true system used many times over the years in our family when needed.
You pay for TV time. All chore money is paid as the chores are accomplished, extra efforts are paid for as well. In school money or play money. TV and video game time are purchased from this stash and money leftover at the end of the week is turned in for cash.
You have to decide what is a reasonable amount of TV time and how much you are willing to dole out in real dough if they save their money. For us 1 half hour of tv costs $1. Chores earn nickels, dimes, quarters but there are lots of chances.
Family movies don't count.
A little aside - this is a fabulous way to improve skills with counting money, making change, and telling time. They quickly become Scrooge McDuck. This is actually fun for us, and breaks the tendency to veg out, or for me to go on parent auto-pilot while creativity seeps out of my kids ears and runs down their necks from too much Phineas and Ferb.
Since we are once again taking the entire month of December off it helps keep skills sharp. I reward them for extra reading, doing schoolwork in the off month, too.
The way I see it, they want TV and game time. You want them to help. win-win.
Make it fun. Don't be a dictator about it, offer surprise bonuses when done quickly or with cheerful hearts. Don't make lots of rules they WILL remember them and outsmart you.