the television (kids shows and wii video games), our nintendo ds (which, i have to admit, i am proud at how good he's getting at "marioworld", that's a lot of hand-eye coordination, thumb control and timing going on), and our computer (which is my favourite for him because he loves the educational games at pbskids.org - if you have a toddler i highly recommend it, i played with him the first few times but one day he took over the mouse and won't let me play anymore, he went from not knowing how to control the mouse to an expert in a few short weeks of playing, not to mention he now recognizes numbers, letters, follows directions, does simple math, and constantly surprises me with his problem-solving skills!) (yes, that was a pretty long statement to be in parentheses.)
we decided it was time to figure out a way of earning screen time instead of him expecting it so i came up with a chore chart full of chores that he's capable of, printed it on blank card stock and backed it with magnets for our fridge:
we've been doing it for 2 days now and so far it's been working great, it's been most beneficial when it comes to finishing eating everything on his plate (something we never force him to do so he knows to stop when he's full, though he seems to be just like me and stops eating when he gets bored of it instead). the only chore he needs a lot of help with is sweeping but he really enjoys it (and it's pretty cute to watch!) it's also encouraged him to learn to dress himself, something he never showed interest in learning - he's the kind of kid who isn't interested unless there's a reason (be it a prize or a consequence), and especially after watching the "changing education paradigms" video milissa posted, colin and i want to make sure elliott can be entertained without screens, that his imagination can always be enough entertainment. which it is! he loves spending time playing with lego, his playmobil playground and fire truck, and g.i.joe's (that one is all colin's encouragement), as well as colouring and reading, and even helping out around the house with laundry, vacuuming and dishes, too. he's a well rounded little dude and i'm very proud of him!
i'm starting to think i should make the same chart for myself - facebook and blog browsing is always more interesting than dishes. i'm a really good procrastinator...