Just Five More Minutes: Earning TV Time

Delana H. Stewart

I always knew that watching television was a great motivator for my daughter, but what I didn’t know is that I have been going about it in the television, friends watching cartoonswrong way. After reading the book Have a New Kid by Friday, I combined the principles I learned from that book with the principles I learned from Parenting With Love and Logic, and came up with an idea.

Mornings are especially difficult for my daughter.

Having ADD and getting beyond earlier symptoms of RAD have made things especially challenging. She has a tough time both getting up and staying focused on what she needs to do. Previously, I took responsibility for waking her up, packing her lunch, helping her get her clothes out, and making her breakfast (anything I could do to ease her getting ready in the morning). However, even with all that I did for her, she would still often be grumpy, complain, and end up doing something mean or disrespectful causing her to lose TV privileges for the day (which was my parenting vice).

TV and Computer free time are a privilege not a necessity. 

This is what we do now. Watching TV* is something that is earned in minutes (rather than taken away by bad behavior and disobedience). So, I made two lists: Before School and After School. Each list has 8 – 10 things (or groups of things) that need to be accomplished. Each of those things (or groups of things) earn 5 minutes of TV* time. The morning’s earnings equal TV* time after school. The afternoon’s earnings equal TV* time with (or without) the family in the evening. [*Includes gaming and computer free time.]

The first day was difficult. I think she only earned 5 minutes on the morning list because nothing was completely done except for one. Same thing happened in the afternoon. I was not sure it was going to work, but day two went better. And since then, our daughter has been a different person to deal with in the mornings and after school. Your lists will likely look different than mine (and may vary child by child, as well). Mine are based on things that are currently challenging for our daughter (and might not need to be addressed in the future).  Here’s a sample of what my lists look like:

ADHD checklist, task listNow when I hear “just five more minutes” please, I respond, “How many minutes did you earn?” By the way, in explaining the lists to her, I told her that if she threw a tantrum (had a meltdown) then she would lose all the minutes in that block (i.e. tantrum in the morning = losing all morning minutes).

ADHD checklist, task list

How do you help your children own their responsibilities, attitudes, and behaviors?

I would love to hear your thoughts!


View and Purchase books by Delana H. Stewart.

See also:

Does Too Much Television Watching Damage the Developing Brain

DIY — Get Your Brain in Gear–Do Something!

Have a New Kid

What to expect the First Year After Adopting

Made with a Purpose — Living with ADD and other Learning Challenges

Homeschooling Children with ADD/ADHD and/or ODD

Do you need endurance or encouragement for enduring? Click here.

Struggling with whether or not to medicate? Please read this post by a fellow blogger:

Making the Choice to Medicate Your Child – The Chaos and the Clutter


10 Questions Adoptive Parents Ask – Short video clips by Dr. Karyn Purvis, author of The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family. The 10 clips address these issues:

1. How Do I Handle Manipulation & Control?
2. Will Trust-Based Parenting Work for My Child?
3. Why Won’t My Child Act His Age?
4. How Do I Handle Lying?
5. How Do I Find the Right Professional To Help Us?
6. Should I Parent My Adopted Child Differently Than Birth Children?
7. How Long Do I Have to Parent This Way?
8. Is It Adoption Related or Not?
9. Will Trust-Based Parenting Prepare My Child for the Real World?
10. How Can I Be Fair?

Family, Mommy, Faith, Education, Inspiration


5 thoughts on “Just Five More Minutes: Earning TV Time

  1. Pingback: Chores and Life Skills | The Education Cafe

  2. Pingback: Have a New Kid | Delana's World

  3. Pingback: Homeschooling Children with ADD/ADHD and/or ODD | The Education Cafe

  4. Pingback: Developmental Delay, Learning Disability, or Neurological Disorder | The Education Cafe

  5. Pingback: Empowering Mothers, part 3, Developing Self-Control | The Education Cafe

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