How Google Drive Can Make Parenting Easier

Seven surprising ways Google Docs, Sheets, and Forms can improve your family’s life

Alexandra Samuel
Forge
Published in
6 min readFeb 5, 2020

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Photo: MoMo Productions/Getty Images

I’I’ve been a parent for 16 years and a Google Drive user for 13. (Such an enthusiastic user, in fact, that I’ve appeared as an unpaid expert on Google’s Digital Wellbeing site.) And somewhere along the way, those two roles began to blend together.

If you use Google Drive at work, you already know that sharing docs, spreadsheets, and folders can make it easier to collaborate with colleagues. But it can also make it easier to co-parent, coordinate with your kids, and generally impose some degree of order on the chaos that comes with family life. Here’s how:

Family policy manual

More than a dozen years ago, I wrote a social-media policy for our family. It started partly as a joke, but I’ve since come to embrace it — and to reproduce it, many times over, for other things. I’ve discovered it’s very helpful to have various household rules and policies documented in a way that’s accessible to parents, children, and other caregivers.

Our Google Drive policy folder offers a peek into the different areas where we’ve had conflict over the years: We’ve had to introduce a toy cupboard policy, a Minecraft policy, a candy policy, and a bathing agreement. We also revise and update our family screen time policy every six to 12 months. (This schedule includes daytime hours because I homeschool one of my kids, who needs access to the internet for online learning.) When we’re introducing a new policy, we have the kids review the Google Doc and suggest any changes before it goes into effect.

Even though our kids helped negotiate these policies, it was hard to get into the habit of living by them, so I created a support request form that the kids had to use for several months: If they wanted candy, a video game, or extra screen time, they had to fill out a support request form, and their answers helped us all ensure we were following…

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Alexandra Samuel
Forge
Writer for

Speaker on hybrid & remote work. Author, Remote Inc. Contributor to Wall Street Journal & Harvard Business Review. https://AlexandraSamuel.com/newsletter