Making Sense

Q&A: How do I limit my kid's computer time during spring break?

Learn the secret to balancing tech and other activities during vacation days.
Caroline Knorr Parenting Editor | Mom of one Categories: Ask our parenting editor
Parenting Editor | Mom of one

Q. As soon as my kid is dismissed for spring break (or any vacation), he heads straight for the computer. How can I limit screen time when he has the entire week free?

A. Plan ahead! While you might allow a little bit more screen time during vacation than you do during the regular school year, you don't want him glued to a screen the entire time. Call a family meeting so everyone's on the same page. Create a daily calendar (with his input) that includes a little of everything: exercise, socializing, family time, and time for any long-term school projects.

Here are some ideas to include in your schedule:

And don't forget: Media can be extremely seductive, and many games are designed to suck players in for long periods. Set a timer so your son knows when to quit (better yet, ask him to set it so he learns to regulate himself).

About Caroline Knorr

As Common Sense Media's parenting editor, Caroline helps parents make sense of what’s going on in their kids' media lives. From games to cell phones to movies and more, if you're wondering "what’s the right age for... Read more

Add comment

Log in or register to post comments

Comments (3)

I think, you need to talk to your child face to face, if it's not enough, you should get cleverer, than him. I don't know, how old youe kid is, but with my 12-year-old I started using a special program, called Time Boss (, which is cheap and easy, but I never behaved as a cop, we had a talk, where I told, I was not going to forbid anything, I just wanted to help him manage his time, and I never hid anything. I said, that I would let him help me with the settings, when he is ready to be honest. So we did. Now I've limited the time for games and social networks, but he still can do his homework, using the computer. Try Time Boss or any other program of the kind, but don't lie to the kid and don't be too strict )))))
These are nice ideas.I think that during their vacations parents must try to spend time with children and keep them engaged in some activities.
We try to plan activities to do together or they have plans with friends, but I give out coupons for TV and video games instead of allowance. ( it's a choice) they have so much time a weekend and if they would like to earn 15-30 mins that an extra chores or activities like studing amd reading. We ready before bed every night 30-60 min a night, it's not a punishment, they can choose the book. Playing outside is a lost art and I go with them! I'm not a great player of basketball, but I'll try! We can do water balloon fights. Pack up the bikes and go biking or boarding ( not for mom thanks) I often buy toys that are on clearance and take them out for rainy days, like a slush maker or well bake, sidewalk chalk is still a huge hit at my house! They'll practice soccer or hockey. It's getting involved too, not every moment of the day but it's fun to enjoy there activities, they grow up so fast!