Being a home schooling family has its advantages, more free time being one of them. I love that my kids choose much of their free time to play creatively – making up puppet shows, creating their own scenes as characters from their favorite books/shows, creating music videos on their iPads, writing songs using their voices and instruments, and so much more! But there are also all these wonderful technological devices that we so love – the iMac, their own iPads, the Apple TV (can you tell we’re an Apple family?) – that can be distractions from using their creative little minds. We decided that even thouh the kids didn’t watch much TV, they were beginning to spend more time than necessary on their other devices. We found a way to limit that technology-time. Enter … the Gold Coin System!
WHAT IT CONSISTS OF:
- Gold coins bought in the education section of my local office supply store
- An old lunchbox/cookie tin-like container
- 2 candle holders spray-painted with chalkboard paint (each kid’s name is on their jar)
HOW IT WORKS:
Gold coins are NOT earned for performing their decided-upon home responsibilities (some of you call these “chores”). Why? Because we are a family and we ALL live in this house. Therefore everyone must contribute.
Also, coins cannot be bargained for (“If I do XYZ, can I get 2 coins?”).
Coins ARE earned for …
- Going above and beyond the call of duty (ex – instead of just putting books back on shelf, noticing that the shelf is getting messy and straightening it up)
- Being especially helpful to a sibling, parent, friend, or stranger
- Doing something positive out of their comfort zone (for our youngest, this is stuff like initiating a conversation with a new person, trying something new, etc)
- Oftentimes we give coins when we notice excellent teamwork
- Taking care of their responsibilities without being asked to do so
- Other times at our discretion
Coins can be spent as follows (all are with permission first):
- 1 coin/10 mins of technology time (approved games and websites only)
- 2 coins/show (most shows are 20 mins) *
- Occasionally coins can be cashed in for stuff – items in the $1 bin at Target, Target gift cards (read about how we started that here) a sweet treat, or other “want” (new nail polish, etc)
- Stay up a little later
Coins can be lost! Being nasty to a sibling, disrespectful to a parent or other authority figure, refusing to perform responsibilities, etc. – these are all ways to lose a coin.
* We like to have a family movie night (at home). When we do, we choose a day in which everyone has been well-behaved and no one turns in coins for these family-movies. These are a gift!
It has been really fun and interesting to watch how each of them uses their coins. Our oldest loves to save hers up, while the little one would use them up as fast as she gets them if we’d let her. It has been great for all of us … even more family time, lots of creative play, and less technology time and “I wants”.