Time Tokens are are an excellent way to manage children’s screen time.
A couple of weeks ago I was sent some Time Tokens for review. I had never heard of them before and a Twitter post caught my attention. After looking at their website my immediate thought was “What a great idea and a great way for monitoring and managing screen time!”
Time Tokens are a set of cards with different times in minute on them that are used to manage screen time; computer, tablet, mobile phone, television etc… and come in a wallet with an electronic countdown timer.
Time Tokens were created by Amanda Bucknall, a mum of two, to stop temper tantrums with her son and manage his screen time without the arguments.
In the large orange wallet are:
1x clip-on orange stopwatch
1x instruction card with promise contract
19x Time Tokens cards totalling 7 hours; 4x 5 minutes, 4x 10 minutes, 4x 15 minutes, 4x 30 minutes, 3x 60 minutes
1x Golden Ticket
1x Introduction to the Frazzles
The idea behind the Time Tokens is that every Friday the child is given an allowance of Time Tokens – there are 7 hours’ worth of tokens and you give them an amount you feel comfortable with. So for example if you were using just to manage television screen time and you only wanted them to worth 5 hours per week you would give them 5 hours which they would them exchange for periods of time watching the television.
To help manage this is a Promise Contract that details when the tokens will be used; Before school, After school, On the weekend and that when the timer beeps the television or other device will be switched off. If they stick to the contract they can trade in their Golden Ticket for a fun ‘ING! activity (this is an activity you all enjoy doING together as a family i.e. paintING, singING, bike ridING etc.).
The Time Tokens are more suited to children aged between 5-10 years old (but I think up to age 12 would be reasonable) but for the past 10 days I have been using them with 3½ year old twins so have had to adapt their use slightly to suit their current needs and understanding. As they are too young to understand the Promise Contact I haven’t used that yet but as they get older and have a better understanding of its meaning then I will be. As for the use of the tokens for the past week just to ease them into using I have just been using them for a 30 minute period between getting ready for bed and actually going to bed for their bedtime story so started off by giving them 3 hours’ worth so that they get to watch an episode of their favourite television programme, Team Umizoomi, before bed.
So how did it go? Well as it was a new concept to them and too young to fully understand the concept it didn’t work at all but by day 4 they are understanding that if they give me tokens (I have to tell them which number ones I want, so a 5 and 15), I start the programme and set the timer and once it buzzes (sounds like the oven timer) they now say television off and then get a book each ready to go to bed. So while they may not fully comprehend the idea of the tokens themselves they do understand that when the timer goes off so does the television.
So after the first week or so of using (adapting use for their level of understanding) I would say they are a success so far. This was always going to be an experiment as they are younger than the recommend age range but even though they haven’t been used in their proper format they are working well as I can see that as they get older and have a better grasp of the concept they will be extremely useful and maybe introducing them to the idea at a younger age will make using them as they grow so much easier (fingers crossed) especially once they start using their LeapPad tablets more.
So what do I think of the Time Tokens? Absolutely brilliant and something I think every parent should invest in. With a retail price of just £14.95 including postage that is a very small price to pay to manage the time children spend staring at screens, whether that is television, computers, tablets or phones and stop arguments before they start. You could even use them to manage time spent doing other activities.
The Time Tokens are a simple idea that could have great benefits for parents, carers and children but I think could also be used in school settings to manage activities. Not only are they managing screen time but are teaching the children the concept of time and for older children could be adapted again to earn tokens in exchange for doing their homework or chores.
I will continue to use them and adapt them to their full use as they get older. Brilliant and versatile.
Highly recommended for any household that has children in it.
RRP: from £15.95
Available to buy from Time Tokens here.
Disclosure: I was provided with a pack of Time Tokens for free for an honest and impartial review.