Managing the Kiddies' Screentime with TimeTokens - Review
This week we are trying out an amazing new framework, TimeTokens which has been co-created by a 7 year old, to try to keep the kiddies' screentime to a healthy limit and hopefully it will also give us more opportunity to do things together as a family.
I have always been conscious of how much time my children sit in front of a screen whether it is watching online cartoons or documentaries, playing games or sat competing each other on the playstation. We do not have a TV and our lounge only has bookcases, but as they get older and inevitably have more devices around the house for studying and rewarding their work, it has become harder to monitor the amount of time each of them has sitting in front of a screen. Experts have written guidelines on how much recreational screentime children should have each day, according to their age. So now the older ones need to use their tablets for studying as well as for pleasure, then it certainly has become more difficult to make sure the younger ones aren't joining in at every given opportunity.
We have been sent these TimeTokens, Bronze winner of the Junior Design Awards 2018, which the kiddies think is such a cool idea. They are bright, colourful high quality time cards chunked into 5, 10, 15, 30 & 60 minutes with cute characters called 'The Frazzles' on each one. There is a bright orange timer, promise contract and information sheets in a lovely orange wallet. The pack certainly looks inviting and the kiddies were excited to get started and intrigued to see how it works.
'Here’s how it works ….
TimeTokens are delivered by post to your child.
Inside their pack they’ll find a bunch of stuff including a welcome note, TimeTokens cards, Golden Ticket, Wallet, LCD timer and the all important Promise Contract.
You and your child agree the total amount of screentime allowed each week and sign the Promise contract together.
Now your child is in charge!
Whenever they want some screentime they hand over TimeTokens from their wallet, let’s say the one for 30 minutes, and start their timer. When the timer beeps, that’s the end of their 30 minutes.
When all the TimeTokens in their wallet are used up, no more screentime until next week when their wallet is filled up again… so lots of time for other stuff!'
'The Frazzles' on each of the TimeTokens are a great way to discuss all the other fun things to do which are screen free such as drawing, building, running and exploring! 'The Frazzles are a cute, fun loving, playful gang of friends! Just like humans, each Frazzle is unique. They also love their screentime, but don’t like to miss out on all the fun things in life – words which end in 'ING' are fun (VERBS or doing words).
The Frazzles help inspire children to have fun doing things away from the screen when their screentime session is over. You will see the Frazzles on your TimeTokens! They are a fantastic talking point and will inspire you ALL to try new fun "INGS"!'
We began by agreeing the amount of screentime they should each have per week and discussed the tips it suggests for healthier screentime. I am pleased that we already have many of them in place such as always keeping their bedrooms screen free zones (they read before bed) and we never use screens during mealtimes, creating time for us to talk as a family.
I then gave DS12 his weekly allowance to try out with him first. He understands now that he only has a certain amount of screentime and chooses his time wisely. I have also found that he will only use 5 or 10 minutes at a time so that he can spread his time throughout the week instead of using the computer for a whole hour. He has spent more time reading and playing with his younger brothers rather than using his TimeTokens. I also gave him the Golden Ticket which is the weekly award for sticking to the promise contract which he read and signed. The reward this week will be to visit and explore a place of his choice.
DS12 says, 'I love the TimeTokens scheme, I get to use the computer when I choose to. I am trying to save the tokens for as long as possible!'
As TimeTokens can be used however suits you as a family, I tried DS9, DS7 and DD4 out for a day. I gave DS9 the tokens to save in the wallet and he handed me on when he wanted to watch or play a game. The kiddies have worked out that if they want to share some screentime together then they can split the time between them, using up less of their tokens.
DS9 says, 'Before TimeTokens I used to watch cartoons with my little sister for ages, wasting my time, but now I just use my 5 minute tokens and then go off to play or read.'
Overall, we think TimeTokens are a great way to monitor how much screentime your children are getting throughout the week and it also makes you think about all the other exciting things that you can do whilst spending time away from the screen. There are so many ways that TimeTokens can be used and adapted. If they are going to their grandparents' house then TimeTokens go along with them, if they have been good then I could use TimeTokens as a reward!
For more information or to buy a pack of TimeTokens then please visit the website here.
Disclaimer: We were sent this product in order to review and promote. All opinions are my own.