Screen Time

SuperMom had a great idea.

SuperMom regrets great idea.

Kid is addicted to his Nintendo DS. Which is… okay. He doesn’t play overly violent games, and he listens better when he is playing it. Surprisingly enough. I ask him to do something, and once I get his attention (which is the difficult part) he will abide by my request.

What bothers me about it, is that  I don’t agree with video games. I also do not want him to become a “gamer” where he is playing 5+ hours a day. So I have limited the amount that he plays. I always have, even when he was younger and only watched television. It’s one hour a day.

A few weeks ago I told him one hour a day, and only if his chores are done. It worked, for the most part. Plus, having something that Kid loves helps when I need to ground him.

Now, I am an academic. I always have been. As illustrated by my decision to go back to school 🙂 I remember at the age of 9 I requested to go to Summer School. (The request was denied, oddly enough. My grades were too good). So imagine my… slight disappointment when I realized I am raising someone who doesn’t share my passion for learning. I have tried many ways to encourage, bribe and entice him to read and write. Math is his strongest area, so I am proud of him there.

My great idea: Earning his screen time. Not by doing chores. He gets his allowance for that. But by doing homework.

Mom, I don’t have homework. THere is no school yet.

AHA! I have a contingency plan for that. I went out to Walmart and got a Gr. 2 workbook for him to work on. (And a Kindergarten one for Baby). If he has no homework one particular day, or he has completed it, he can work on his workbook. If he completes it before the end of school I can buy a Gr. 3 workbook.

Today was the first day that we had “homework Time” as a family. Baby working on her alphabet, Mommy trying to study for psychology, and Kid working on Math.

Between explaining the workbook to Baby, marking Kids work, and helping him with his Math, I ended up reading one paragraph. 3 times. I dealt with a mini-freakout from Kid cuz he wasn’t able to solve a math equation as quickly as possible (Note to mom: when the book says to time the kid, don’t. Kid is too competitive to be timed). I dealt with “I can’ts” “Its too hard” and “I don’t wanna’s” from Baby. By the time the one hour of Homework Time was up, I was so frustrated! And I hadn’t even gotten to MY homework yet.

I have to remember that this was something to help *encourage* Kid (and in turn Baby) to learn and work ahead in school. Its not meant to be used as a threat or a punishment. Eventually, he WILL get the hang of Homework Time. He won’t have his freakouts. Baby will realize that “I can’ts” don’t exist and *maybe* just maybe,  I will be able to get homework done during that time as well.

If not, then there is always that one hour of blissful silence as Kid plays on his DS and Baby watches TV.


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