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Money for Electronics

I wanted to quickly share with you a method for electronics use we are trying out for summer break. I didn’t come up with it. I read it in a parenting book several years ago…but because I don’t have any of my books anymore… I don’t know which one it was.

Kids need downtime and summer break is great for them. However, without school and other activities going on it is easy for them to sit in front of a screen way to much. This would include TV, computer, electronic games, etc. These are fun and I want my kids to be able to enjoy them, but I don’t want them to become addicted and waste there whole summer either.

What we are doing is changing allowance for the summer to be tied into electronics (before we tied it in with school work because that was their ‘job’ over the school year). I am giving them .50 a day through the summer. They can choose to spend .25 for 30 minutes of electronics totaling a max of 60 minutes if they want to spend all their money. They were only making .20 a day with school work so it is built in to spend most of their money if they want on electronics during the week. The opportunity is also there for them to save even more.

I am probably pretty stingy on allowance so if you usually do more you can up the amounts. What I give them seems to be enough to buy a treat every once and a while and help them learn to count and save money. It also motivates them to find other ways of making money (like I talked about here and here). You can also change up the amounts you want their daily limit to be. The idea is there is a limit and they have incentive to do less.

I believe typing is super important and the computer is also a great place to research the answers to questions. They both have e-mail and Lily has a website set up with a private area just for her to talk with her friends (like a mini parent controlled Facebook). These things I let them do when they want to and don’t count it for time they would have to pay for. This is typing, communication and learning about computers.

We don’t have a TV so the electronics my kids pay for are computer games or videos and iphone games.

What to you do to limit screen time?


  1. Great idea- I never thought of “trading” allowance for an activity. We have really been trying to only let the kids have electronic time if we’re a part of it with them. They don’t spend a lot of time on the computer, and if we have to agree to watch a movie with them, chances are they are not going to be watching a lot of kid movies.
    I have been wanting to set-up some sort of blog or something for my oldest son…maybe that will help with his spelling! =)

    • Yeah, I always want to tie allowance into something instead of just giving it to them. For adults we have it tied into our work (what we do all day).

      I set my daughter up with a tumblr account first (free). I just moved her to a wordpress account which offers more flexibility. Because we already pay for a hosting account that holds all our other sites we only have to pay the domain (13 a year) for her site. She doesn’t do much now, but I want to encourage her to do more next school year. I turn the comments off and make sure they understand what they can and can’t write about for safety reasons. I think it totally helps her spelling. She has the spell check feature as well as constantly asking me how to spell words she wants to write.

  2. Great idea though my 13 year will probably through a fit if I try to implement it at his age… good to start early with this one.

    • yeah… I don’t know what to do with a 13 year old… 🙂

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