Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I'll Trade You a Rock by Wendy Blackwell

{I frequently surf blogs, Pinterest and Facebook for ideas for homeschooling, parenting, life and more!! I am grateful to the women (and men) that choose to share what works, what doesn't and a laugh at yourself anecdote that helps else all get through life. To that end, I've decided to share a few things along the way….}
Just a bit past lunch time and we've already been deep into magical dungeons, searching for golden tickets and saving the world with an underwear clad superhero.
And while our sweet peanuts hang on every word and stretch their imaginations to keep up with the adventure, it all started with a rock.
Not even really a rock, more of a pebble. Buy ‘em from the dollar store in a bag “river rocks” kinda things.
Last year when we bought our children Nintendo DS’s for their birthday it quickly became apparent that we had to find a balance between games and well everything else in life. After trying a couple of systems, hunky hubby and I hit on something that we thought was genius.
Turns out. It was.
And, it has turned out better than we ever could have planned or imagined. {don’t you love when you stumble across some incredible parenting method?!?!?! Oh, let’s be honest, much of parenting is the stumble method.}
The concept is simple.
15 minutes of reading = one rock
One rock = 15 minutes of gaming time
The more you read, the more you play.
Each kid has their own jar. We put in rocks and take out rocks depending on reading/playing time.

Here’s where the couldn’t-have-planned-this-part comes in.
Our kids became obsessed with earning rocks. Piling up hours and hours of playing time. {time that resets every weekend} And how do you earn playing time?? By reading.
Our already bookworm daughter used her love of books to bank time in case she felt like playing. Our not such a bookworm, learning how to read son, wasn’t so keen on the system at first. And then, enter “Captain Underpants” in a quest to light his fire for reading (or being read to), I began searching out books that target little boys. Imagine a set of books with wedgie, underwear, booger, poopie pants and more as the center of titles, plot lines and stories. {lots of moms seem to cringe at the mere thought of the books, but if it gets them reading?!?!?} Our little man was hooked. And the more time we spent in the pages of Captain Underpants the more time he wanted to spend reading.
We now spend a couple of hours a day reading together, all of us.
Hunky hubby and I have toyed with the idea of expanding our system. 1 rock = 15 minutes of media time (video games, ipads, computer, tv, you name it). While we are still working out the kinks.
In the meantime, we keep reading. The sound of pebbles clinking into jars is music to my ears. And I don’t think the kids even notice that they spend FAR more time reading then they do playing video games.
I heard Dr. Phil say once, {said with a bit of a texas-hollywood drawl} “you have to find your child’s currency.”
For us, it’s rocks.


  1. Please feel free to pop over to my blog....

    Would love to hear other ideas people have for balancing video games with life!



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