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I Had My Kids' Technology Use Under Control... Then Came the Snow Day

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Regardless of how much I try to get ahead in terms of managing my kids' technology use, school snow days mean I'm behind again. Just this week, I re-instituted for about the fifth time a 'no tech use during the school week' policy. My intention when I got the boys their first Xbox was that it would be for weekend use only. Slowly, very slowly, we've migrated into tech use during the school week.

First it was educational games, and then sports connect games, then Minecraft against friends and a growing obsession with rushing through important activities so they could "get on their tech." This is where I put I stop to it, a couple of days ago. At two days into the week, I was -- notice the word "was" -- feeling victorious.

But today, we have the dreaded, undermining, snow day. They'll be home all day and so will I. Back in their pre-tech days, snow days used to be gifts for me. Forced to be home, I could get hours of paperwork done while they were content being outside in the snow, watching some TV, playing games and doing whatever else they found to do.

Now when they wake, my kids will be bouncing off the walls as soon as they realize they have no school and it won't be to go outside and play in the snow. Instead, they will be salivating for their devices. One will want to be on Minecraft, playing against many of the males in his class, and the other will want to play Xbox hockey in an attempt o beat his own last score.

If I allow that, they'll be mega-content (and I'm not even hosting a play date!) while I get a ton of work done. The trade-off is that the more tech they use, the more likely they are to relapse back into the addictive tendencies that they are beginning to break. I am not exaggerating when I say that the more time they spend in front of screens, the bigger the battle it will be to get them away from them. That's counterintuitive, right? As a parent, I'll want to say, "Come on, you just had four hours on that, aren't you satisfied?" Their reaction will be "No I didn't, I'm just getting started!"

It's completely irrational, and l been there enough times to know there's no point to arguing about time on devices with someone who is in denial. So getting them off their devices and back into the real world of shoveling, sledding or doing anything productive will be the challenge. That's the trade-off. I'll write more blogs while they get more tech-addicted and I fail at my parenting goals. I hate snow days!

So, rather than allow a tech free-for-all, I will provide the boys with a schedule for the day. It's more work on my part, meaning I won't have hours of uninterrupted writing time, but my parenting skills and their tech use won't fall into the toilet, either. The day will go something like: Breakfast, clean room, get dressed, 1-2 hours tech use, lunch, indoor basketball and games. By 2 p.m., I'm hoping we can get out for haircuts and afternoon sports.

Boy, that day went fast. I better get to work while they are still asleep if I want to get anything done on this darn snow day.