You have to pay to play in our house

We are “techies.” Our family loves games on the computer and Wii. Our daughters have Nintendo DS systems and our son loves his handheld PSP. Recently I noticed a disturbing trend in our household. The more video games we played, the more we slacked off on our chores, our tempers were shorter with each other and basic courtesy and respect were on a serious decline.

I started a solid rule in our home: No more than one hour a day for computer and video games.

It was a good start in the right direction. Unfortunately, it is very easy to lose track of time when you’re playing your favorite video game. I’m so thankful the Lord blessed me with a better way to handle our video game situation!

Introducing our “Pay to Play” method!

Our children pay to play their favorite games

I grabbed a few of our old poker chips and designated colors: Blue for Rowena, Red for Daniel and White for Vivian. Each child is given four chips at the start of each day. Each chip is worth 15 minutes of game time. This counts for games on the computer, Wii or their handheld systems.

One firm rule is set: No game time until chores and school work are completely done.

The chips also come with some rules of their own. If the kids are spending their chips and we find a chore or a school assignment isn’t finished, they lose a chip (or two). But there is a perk as well, if we see them doing something above and beyond their chores – like unloading the dishwasher without being asked – and they don’t try to bribe chips out of us, then we will reward them with a chip (or two).

Miss Rowena was outside, raking the yard the other day. We didn’t ask her to do it, she just started doing it. You can be sure we gave her two chips for that!

Since we’ve implimented this new “Pay to Play” system in our house, attitudes are improving and our days are a lot more productive.


When we started this blog in 2010, we had three children.

Since that time we have had THREE MORE CHILDREN. We would love for you to visit us at to see how we’ve grown.




  1. March 4, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Can I be you when I grow up?

  2. Dusty Wilson said,

    March 29, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I love this idea! I may have to implement it myself! What an awesome and simple idea to end the battle and get some things done!

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