apps and tech, Family lifestyle, reviews

Time Tokens – review: a fun way to manage your child’s screen time

This originally appeared as part of a longer blog post in my weekend round up section.

Coffee and Time Tokens

As you probably know if you read my blog regularly, I work flexible hours – and do a five day week in four days. Fridays is my blessed day to just be – and the precious hours between school drop off and school pick up are mine to juggle tidying, blogging, and meeting people for coffee.

Last Friday after school drop off I headed to Outsider Tart on the High Road to meet up with Eva who runs Home of Social, digital PR agency and is also the woman behind our local foodie festival, Eat Chiswick.
outsider tart
I love meeting up with people in real life that I’ve got to know and like via social media. It’s always fun to see the real person behind the Twitter ID.
Eva had something very exciting to give me. It was a pack of Time Tokens, designed by a seven-year-old boy and his mum as a way of helping parents and kids monitor screen time.
time tokens
I’ll be writing more about these in a future blog post once we’ve had a chance to play with them. But I will say that screen time is one of those battles that every household seems to have.
I love the digital age, and I think technology is an absolute blessing that enhances and inspires creativity. But as we all know, from fiddling with our phones at every opportunity, it’s also a big time killer. And when you’re spending time on screens you’re spending time away from books, walks, board games,  and all those other rich experiences of life.
Moderation in all things is a good mantra. (One I have yet to adopt for myself).
Wanting to monitor screen time used by Chiswick Boy is very much driven by selfish desires. I hate being that naggy-mum, who suddenly says ‘turn it off’, instead of setting clear and sensible boundaries upfront. Who worries about the amount of time Chiswick Boy spends on a screen while simultaneously spending my entire working day in front of one, and all my blogging and social media free time too.
So I was thrilled to try out these tokens – especially as they add a bit of gamification and fun to what would otherwise be a strictness festival.

The idea is that the child has a stash of time tokens that they trade in for screen time. We added our own twist – we held some vouchers back and Chiswick Boy can earn them for tasks like homework, violin practice etc.

And in return I’ve promised not to fiddle with my phone while we’re together.
The idea is not to make screen time seem bad and all those other activities as holier-than-thou, but it helps set a balance between those activities and screen time.
We knew it was working when on Saturday morning I woke up to find a 60 minute token dropping on my head. It was Chiswick Boy cashing in one of his tokens, and setting up the timer (enclosed with the token pack).
I didn’t have to nag all weekend – bliss. And in fact, what I’ve found through using the time tokens is that Chiswick Boy doesn’t spend nearly as much time on his screen as I thought he did. It’s helped us both get a bit of perspective.

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