Heads up, parents! There’s a new product on the block that helps you through the sometimes daunting process of parenting. We all know that raising kids is a tough job, and raising kids who listen and are well-behaved is even tougher!
When we were kids, we got grounded. However, for many parents these days, that doesn’t work. A Kickstarter product, called Goodtimer, officially launched last fall from Plus Up LLC in an attempt to address this parenting perplexity. The desire was to encourage kids to make good choices through positive reinforcement, tangible incentives, and family participation.
Backed by neuroscience and three years of research and development, the founder of Goodtimer, Adam Ashley, says, “What if we created a game for the whole family where everyone could win at making good choices? [K]ids love it because it provides a foundation for them to succeed, and parents love it because they don’t have to be the bad guys.”The concept of the kit is that your kids earn “Good Time” by following your family’s house rules. Each Goodtimer includes tokens that your kids receive after earning Good Time. They can save their tokens and exchange them for incentives, which are decided by your family. Each Goodtimer also includes a kids’ book that tells Goodtimer’s charming back story. The book also provides guidance on how to use Goodtimer.
Parents fill out the house rules and the rewards, but it is important to include kids in this step. Ask them questions about what rules are important and why. It allows them to have a vested interest in the function of the house. Then, include them in what the rewards are going to be. If they help pick the rewards (such as going out for ice cream), they are more apt to want to achieve the award they had a hand in picking. Once you complete those steps, it’s time to start using Goodtimer.
Kids earn “Good Time” all day and night as long as they follow the house rules. If you use batteries, you can bring the Goodtimer with you anywhere, including in the car, to the grocery store, or when visiting relatives. The device itself is rounded, so it is smooth the touch for kids. It is safer to handle without sharp corners. It also is made of strong plastic. So it can easily be wiped with a sanitizing cloth.
There are 12 glowing segments that will illuminate one by one as kids earn Good Time. Then, when all the segments are glowing, kids can earn a token! Seeing the segments light up one by one gives kids visual cues and positive reinforcement that they are achieving their goal and seeing it move closer to token time!
But what happens if they don’t follow the rules? Parents should have kids flip Goodtimer upside down to pause the Good Time function. Once they apologize or make amends, they can flip Goodtimer right side up again and resume the Good Time countdown. The physical aspect of having to turn the device upside down is a reinforcement that they did not follow the rules. Turning it right side up again lets them take ownership of their amends.
One token is earned after every eight hours of Good Time on level one or every 12 hours on level 10. Alternatively, parents can pick a level in between based on the age or behavioral needs of their kids. Once kids get a token, they can redeem the rewards you set as a family, such as something from a prize basket, screen time, or going on a special outing.
Each Goodtimer kit comes with a glowing timer, rechargeable battery with up to five days between charges, an integrated stereo speaker, a token dispenser with a 16-token capacity, an instructional children’s book, 32 reusable tokens and stickers, a plush token pouch, a 5-volt AC/DC adaptor, and exclusive access to positive parenting resources. There is even an exclusive Facebook group!
Goodtimer is a welcome addition to the growing parenting reinforcement space. Having a variety of behavioral tools enables parents to select one that is right for their family. Sometimes that may mean switching one product out for another. You can always resume it after a break, so it seems new again. All in all, incentivizing kids for good behavior is a modern aspect of parenting. Goodtimer is a great tool for parents to achieve that goal.