Kid Wrangling: Earning electronics

This is something very simple that I did with my sons. We had a house rule that the kids could not do anything electronic, like watch TV or play video games, unless they asked a parent first.  (We preferred them to read, play or go outside, so we tried to discourage brainless tv watching).  The 2nd part of the rule was, the kids weren’t allowed to ask us unless their rooms were picked up.  Not cleaned exactly, but nothing on the floor that wasn’t supposed to be there.
This rule was great because it eliminated the need for us to ever nag them about tidying their rooms. We knew that eventually they would want to watch t.v., and they knew the answer was an automatic No unless their rooms were clean.
Now a word to the wise. If you have a Jeremy, a smart but rebellious child, he will test this rule to the utmost.  Jeremy decided, when he was about 8 years old, that he would rather NEVER watch television again, rather than clean up his room. He lasted for two weeks and finallly he dramatically announced, “FINE, YOU WIN!!! I CAN”T STAND IT ANYMORE!” And he went to tidy his room. But it was such a mess by then that it was completely overwhelming so we did it together. I thought it was fun. I think he’s still mad about it though.
A genius rule that my sister SaraJane had for her son was that he was only allowed to play video games before she woke up on the weekends.  Once she woke up it was chore time.  This ensured that he and his friends would play very very quietly and not wake up Mom for as long as possible. Sneaky!

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