Let me start off by saying that I am not against TV. My husband often points out that he watched a lot of TV and he has a PhD in mathematics. It didn't seem to ruin him. Plus, there are a lot of good shows to choose from. I am pretty sure D learned to read from Leap Frog and Super Why. That being said, once D starts watching TV, he fights me the rest of the day to get to watch more and more and doesn't want to take the effort to use his imagination. I was tired of the fighting and arguing. Then we started the TV tickets.
At the beginning of the week he gets 5 TV show tickets and 3 movie tickets. He gets to choose when to use them. I thought this was important because it makes him accountable for his choices. It can be hard on me because, for instance, this week he used them ALL on Monday. Yup, I let him watch TV for about 7 hours. It went against everything I believe about kids and TV, but I let him make the choice. But here is the wonderful part. Since we have been doing this, on days he has no tickets left, he doesn't ask to watch TV. Not even once. Sometimes he will point out he wants to watch something but he can't till next week because he used all his tickets. Today he gathered up a bunch of his Friend magazines and looked through them and then asked me to read some of the stories to him. That would have never happened before. Last week he used them all by the end of Tuesday, and he found plenty to keep him busy the rest of the week. I think this system is a keeper for us.
*Note: Saturdays are the exception. I let him watch Saturday morning cartoons regardless of ticket status. It's the day the hubby and I have to relax in the morning. Maybe the anti-TV people would think this is still excessive, but it works for us.