The token system

I decided at the end of the school year that I didn’t want the kids time home this summer to turn into all iPads all the time, but I also didn’t want to give them up altogether, because come on. Sometimes that’s the only time they aren’t talking to me. So I came up with a pretty basic system of earning tokens that can be spent for time on the iPads. Here’s how it works:

I use poker chips for tokens, each token is worth 30 min. I didn’t want to get into variations on how much time they were worth.

They can do any of the following things to earn a token:

Reading for 30 min. For Kalena I stipulated that she needs to read out loud. For Will it’s being read to. (He is learning to read, but listening to him for half an hour might kill me. SORRY WILL.)

Weeding in the garden. 1 grocery bag full of weeds earns a token. This one is actually kind of a gimme, because the weeds are super easy to pull, so 5 min could easily get them a full bag.

Spend 30 min working in a workbook. Kalena and Will each have workbooks for math and reading at their grade level. Pretty self explanatory.

30 min practicing flash cards. For Will this can be sight words or math flash cards, for Kalena just math.

Picking up the basement/playroom. Lydia and Daniel pretty much destroy the playroom every day, so picking it up is kind of a big job. For this one, if they both help they each earn a token, if only one of them cleans that earns 2 tokens. The problem with this one is that it really has to be done after the babies go to bed, and most days we put all the kids to bed at the same time.

Miscellaneous cleaning tasks as assigned by me. Pretty much anything I feel like is worth some iPad time. For instance, Kalena cleaned the banister/railing around the kitchen table. The ones the babies can reach from their high chairs and they grab with their grubby, food covered hands. (She got it SO CLEAN you guys, I don’t even know how. That food basically needs a chisel to get it off. (I gave her 2 tokens for this one.))

The other stipulation I have is that they need to get dressed, make their beds, and pick up their bedrooms before they have any iPad time in the morning. I’m hoping that the pick-up-every-day thing will keep their rooms from getting to be the giant disasters they become otherwise. And the get dressed thing is mostly for Will who, for whatever reason, seems to think changing his clothes is torture. He wants to continue wearing WHATEVER HE IS WEARING for as long as I’ll let him.

I also gave them a couple cheats. The first is that if Daniel and Lydia are watching something, Kalena and Will can watch without spending any tokens. The babies only have a handful of things they like, and none of it is the stuff the big kids are most interested in. I mostly left this because it is HELPFUL FOR ME to have Kalena and Will be with the babies. Didn’t want to shoot myself in the foot there. The other cheat is that they are allowed to watch documentaries without spending a token. I figure they’re educational, so why not. So far neither of them have taken me up on this one.

I didn’t put limits on how many tokens they can earn OR SPEND in any given day. Maybe I’ll need to address that at some point? I don’t know. Anyway, I think that about sums it up! Questions?



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