Wednesday, August 22, 2012

screen time tickets

last friday i posted on facebook that i had just implemented "screen time tickets" with my boys and that noah only had 1 left. for the entire week.

i honestly anticipated more tantrums and frustration {on all our parts!} but as i type this {on wednesday} we've all been doing really well!
there will be a few new changes and alterations for our second week with screen time tickets.

as you can see each ticket is worth 30 minutes and can be used for tv, movies, daddy's iPad {one of the major sources of arguments before the tickets!} or computer.

how it works is that if the boys request to use the iPad or watch something i tell them to bring me a ticket and then choose what they would like to do. then i set the alarm on my phone and tell them when the alarm goes off, their time is done {or when a movie is done, etc. and they give the appropriate amount of tickets}.

each boy received 5 tickets last friday.
i am now planning on upping that to 6 tickets and will ration them out during the week; 3 on friday and 3 on monday. i may go back to giving them all their tickets on friday, but we'll see how the rationing goes if it seems to work for everyone.

jamie and i also discussed giving them an hour of saturday morning cartoons - as a treat for both kids and parents.
they also get one freebie of a family movie night which does not need any tickets.
noah also got a freebie ticket this week from daddy for obeying right away and with a really good attitude.

someone on facebook asked what happens if one child pays for a movie with their tickets and then the other child wants to sit in and watch. i commented that this is perfectly fine. the second child just doesn't have a say in what movie or show is being watched if they didn't contribute any tickets. over time this will hopefully lead to the boys working together to maximize their tickets and if they both want a say in the movie/show then they both need to contribute tickets.

right now both their envelopes are empty. they will stay empty until friday morning when i replenish them. we'll see how quickly they go through their initial three tickets or if they'll have learned to ration them for themselves.

overall their behaviour has been a bit better, they've played better together and have also self-initiated a lot more independent play time. hooray! oh we still have many fights {they are boys, after all!} but it's nice to see them being more creative and content with less screen time. kids will rise to the occasion and once again they have proven me right!

so all you need is to print off some tickets {i found mine here but there are other options for shorter amounts of time like 15 or 20 minutes or longer like 60 minutes}. i also chose to use colourful paper and then since i have no idea where i would laminate them, i used clear tape on both sides so we could re-use them.

this has been {so far} a good solution for our over-use of the tv and iPad. if you try it, let me know how it works for your family! i'll continue to update over the next few months as it's still a work in progress - and especially with the introduction of a new baby to our family soon!


  1. what a great idea - but do you just give them the tickets??? - don't you think it would be better to teach them to earn them?

  2. SO far we are doing well! Both boys used up 2 tickets each on their first Monday, but rationed and didn't use any today! I'm doing the same as you - 3 Monday AM and 3 Friday AM. It makes the best sense. Thanks again for this! Truly a wonderful idea in giving the wee ones control, BUT also teaching them the very important lessons of self control and restraint. They seem to really value their screen time now.

    We are thinking of the possibly of allowing them to earn tickets, but that will come after we've got a handle on these lessons first.

    1. That's awesome, Dana! Glad your boys are "getting it". Noah still uses his up pretty quickly. Jude I think more actually forgets and then when he does remember it's often at an inopportune time. Haha.

      We gave them a freebie yesterday when we needed to have a team meeting and then Noah's behaviour afterward was HORRIFIC! He got quite the lecture from me about that later. glad to hear they're doing well with the tickets.

  3. We had a similar incident - gave Kyler (my 5 yr old) an extra ticket to use following his own ticket and he was monstrous! So we decided a new rule for us is that they can use one ticket, but not 2 back to back (giving them an hour).... it was just TOO much. Any time Kyler has too much screen time, he kind of becomes wacky., I think he is so in tune to the visual stimulation, that when it's over, he just combusts. Ah, learning curves everyday! :D


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