We’ve got a new system in our house. It’s been running for a few weeks and so far, so good. First of all a glossary of the semantics that this article is about to employ. ‘Technology’ is the moniker of all the electronic gubbins that our 3 kids have collated over the years. The list includes Nintendo Wii and DS, Any form of screen based entertainment – DVD’s, iPlayer etc. (Games on) phones, the internet, consoles, PSP’s etc. The 2 boys especially are are huge technology’ fans and would, if left to their own volition use their technology every waking hour, forgoing all other biological and educational functions in favour of.
Our Token Award system provides them with an operational framework – the ability to earn half hour ‘tokens’ of technology in exchange for good deeds, tasks and chores. Tokens are from a pot of buttons and badges (pictured above) that Eirene picked up at a jumble sale a few weeks ago. Washing up – one token. Making cups of tea? one token. You get the idea. If they do homework properly without being nagged, there’s another techno token.
So far it seems to be working – it’s a win win situation. We get child labour in exchange for the electricity it takes to charge their technical arsenal and the fuel (food) it takes to keep their whits about them and their thumbs primed for gaming. They get to buy technology time at weekends etc. (terms and conditions apply).
I’ve heard the argument that if you get your kids to do things and they always expect a reward they’ll never do anything for ‘free’ again. This troubles me a bit, but I’m quite liking the idea that as a bi product of this, they are getting the gist of how the real world works – you do a chore, you get paid for it. Either that or we’re accidentally turning them (or us) into capitalist megalomaniacs. Let’s hope not.
We’ve tried all sorts of other systems out – A star charts being one, a 5p +/- towards a trip to the sweet shop every Friday where they started off with x amount and it got added to or subtracted from depending on their actions and decisions. This system does not punish, it just rewards and it seems to have hit upon the cyrrency that really matters to 12 year old and 10 year old boys and increasingly a 5 year old girl – technology!