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An Innovative Way to Control Your Kid's Screen Time

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How much computer time should I let my 8-year-old son have? I give him 30 minutes a day but he keeps on bugging me about it.
originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Martyn V. Halm, Pre-Conflct Control Instructor, on Quora:

"How much computer time should I let my 8-year-old son have? I give him 30 min. a day but he keeps on bugging me about it."

Vouchers.

Recreational* screen time (television/iPad/PS4) for my nine-year-old son with ADHD is restricted to sixty minutes a day, divided into six vouchers of ten minutes each. If he runs out of vouchers, he can earn more vouchers doing chores like cleaning the toilet. And he can lose vouchers for transgressions.

We started to use this system because our son has a problem with internal/external motivation and executive functions (planning, work prep, following long instructions) due to his ADHD. Plus he's 'addicted' to gaming, always asking for the iPad or his mother's telephone to keep up with his games.

The six ten-minute vouchers help him plan his screen time, and limit the screen time to normal proportions. And he can keep track of how much screen time he has left, so he can just give up a voucher of ten minutes of undisturbed screen time.

And the vouchers are also a good disciplinary method because he doesn't want to lose vouchers for not cleaning up his room, not putting dirty clothes in the hamper, or not taking off his shoes by the door.

When he has a busy day and is unable to use up all his vouchers, he can take one coupon to the next day. If he needs more vouchers, he can earn an extra two tickets per day doing chores like cleaning the toilet or cleaning the kitty litter or sorting and folding laundry.

*Non-recreational screen time is computer time for homework or his online typing course or educational games like Minecraft, which are exempt from the vouchers but still restricted by the parents.

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