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Q&A: How do I limit my kid's computer time during spring break?
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:
- Consider having a day that's totally indulgent so he doesn't feel resentful.
- Plan free time to listen to music or simply hang out.
- Gear up for activities and offline diversions. Keep a stash of books, puzzles, art supplies, and games.
- Use media together -- play games, watch movies, download apps, and visit websites. You may spend more time talking and interacting with each other than with the media itself.
- Head outdoors with your smartphone to try geocaching and other outdoor apps.
- Help your kid choose media that's mindful -- not mindless -- so that when he is glued to the screen, he's hopefully getting something worthwhile out of it.
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).