Limiting your child’s TV and Computer time

This post is more about the great idea than the actual craft…

Recently in our family we had set a goal to watch less TV.  I just got lazy over the summer by turning on the TV or a computer game for the kids instead of encouraging them to go play outside, or better yet get on the floor and play with them.  My friend was having the same experience at her house and had turned off the television and said that she had loved the results, so we decided to give it a try.  Now that the TV has been off for a whole month I would ike to transition back to a limited healthy amount of TV.  I just feel like no TV all the time, for us, is unrealistic.  So I came up with this Computer and TV Token Jar.

I went to the dollar store and bought a bag of pirate play money and quickly put this jar and bag together.

First I cut a hole in the top of the lid.  I wish I had some great way to do it but I just used a hammer and nail to get it started and then some wire cutters and needle nose pliers to open up the hole.  I then covered it with some fabric using the hot glue gun.  I quickly sewed a mini draw-string bag and threaded some elastic through to keep the bag shut and to keep it attached to the jar.  Printed off some vinyl to label the jar and we were done.

Now the whole idea is that my son gets 10 tokens per week.  Each token is worth 30 minutes.  So he choses when we wants to use them and takes them out of the bag and puts them into the jar.  I then set the kitchen timer for 30 min and he can watch TV or play a computer game.  The first week he used all 10 tokens in 3 days.  He soon realized what a mistake that was and this week he has been more conservative in using his tokens.  It also makes me more aware of how much he is watching and playing instead of just turning it on and leaving it on.

This has been a very positive thing for our family to limit the amount of time in front of the screen.  My boys play together more, they are more creative and have been reading lots of books.

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Organizing toys so the kids know how to clean up!

I do not know why, but my kids toys need to be organized!  I guess I figure if they can’t find the pieces and toys are all over the place they will not go play with them.  Or maybe I just do not function well in chaos…

I am sure some of you are OK with just throwing all the toys into the same toy chest, out of sight out of mind right?  Not for me I have nightmares about those toys coming to life, like in Toy Story.

So the first thing I did was clean up and go through all the toys.  I do not keep toys that come from McDonald’s or that are broken.  I figure there are enough toys around that I do  not need to keep the random broken toys around.

I then went around and took over 50 pictures of the toys in their nice and organized bins and shelves.

Next I added words to the pictures using Picnic.  Like “blocks”, “Babies”, “Play Food” etc… to help my kids start to recognize words and learn to read.

I then printed the photos off at Costco for only a few dollars.

I brought the pictures home and taped them up around the room, on the shelves and coordinating boxes.

I have mentioned before how I run a preschool out of my home.  You would be amazed at how messy 15 preschoolers can make a room in a 45 minute play time (or maybe you would not!)  But I know you would be impressed to see how quickly these same preschoolers clean up.

On the first day of preschool I explained to them about matching the toys with the pictures and the first clean up time went amazingly well.  I was so impressed!

So if you are looking for a way to save a lot of your time and alleviate all of your frustrations, label and organize your toys.  I am so glad I did!