Earned Technology & Screen-Time Limits for Kids

Privileges. Screen time. Chores. Oh-my!

Earned Screen-time and Limits

I am not totally uneducated on this topic. I am a librarian for goodness sake. I get it. I know too much screen time is bad for little brains. I know T.V. is a vacuum for their creativity. We read. We create. We go outside and play. But 4 kids in on a Monday night after work, with the whining, fighting, tugging at me, and it’s past dinner time…with no planned dinner, and I just give in. Hands in the air. I give up!! Yes, I do. T.V. time kiddos! This is my reality and I know although you might not admit it…it’s yours.

So…On one of my good better days…I tried a new thing that helped me manage some of this, and maybe it would help you too. It was an earned technology chart. Sort of like a chore chart, but where in order to actually use a screen for a finite amount of time, they had to do certain tasks to earn the given amount of time. For example, if they read for 20 minutes, they earn 15 minutes of screen time. But the trick is, I made them do all the items on the to-do list before they earned any time. In all, they can earn up to 1 hour of screen time, which we call the iPad or Kindle. TV is never allowed until after dinner for another finite amount of time- up to the parent, but usually around one hour (Perhaps as you cook dinner!).

For some people this would still be a lot of screen time during the week, or maybe it’s not enough for others, but I think everyone is on their own spectrum of screen allowance- this is just how I parse out my own kid’s allowed time. I think the key is actually being aware of how much your kids are on a screen and monitoring it a bit. Well rounded. Balance. After they get the routine of it, they can take the initiative to do the required checklist without whining or tugging at your sleeve, and help mom a bit too! Respect.

Well done mom. You are on your way.

In an effort to NOT recreate the wheel, here are some great charts that I like a lot and have used myself, when I don’t just write them out in chalk or crayon on a sheet of paper!

Busy Kids Happy Mom Blog: Earned Technology Chart

This one is my favorite- It encourages the enjoyment of other things: playing, reading, outside time, and still has a chore in there for good measure. I have been loving this as it’s really adaptable to my kids of ages spanning 6 yrs.old to 11 yrs.old. A total hit with me.

Natural Beach Living Blog: Summer & Holiday Earned Screen Time

I like this for weekends. It is a somewhat relaxed and open ended screen amount, but still leads the kids to do other things, and also makes the expectation set that they must do other things first before indulging in an all out screen fest.

Living Well Spending Less: How to Create a Chore Chart that Works

I like that this post has lots of chore-chart ideas to customize for YOUR OWN family. Nobody’s families will work just like mine, I know, so this chore chart can be adapted to work for earning technology as opposed to money, like an allowance.


What do you do to control screen time after school or on weekends? For now, we are super busy with sports, but there are those pockets of time, where my kids just gravitate to the screen. I would love to hear what you are doing! Let me know in the comments~

4 thoughts on “Earned Technology & Screen-Time Limits for Kids

  1. luciepalka

    Great post! My little guy is only 3 but already loves TV and my iPad. We already have to set some rules on screen time. Sometimes it is easier to get dinner on the table and let him watch a little telly. However, working in the I.T field, I get lots of advice from follow coworkers who have older kids. Check out http://ourpact.com/, I know several parents who have used the App to control their older kids’ iPad, iPhone iPod activity. It’s work a look.

      1. Nancy

        Our pact is awesome! I discovered it this summer right before we gave our son his first phone. My favorite part is the option to block their phone “until I say so”!

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