Surviving Snow Days: Have a Plan at the Ready
When I was a kid, snow days were awesome. I loved going to school, but there was nothing like the occasional unscheduled day off. It was like opening a present. I try to remember that every time my email pings at nine o'clock in the evening.
Living in Virginia, sometimes we can go a whole winter with only a dusting of snow -- if we even get that. I secretly love those winters. Growing up in Pennsylvania, we had copious snow days but they were usually for snowfall levels of 4 inches or more. In Virginia, when we get a dusting or even freezing rain, the schools close. Sometimes I feel like my grandfather when I tell my kids, "I went to school in an ice storm and walked there." There are definitely times when I look out the window and think they'll have school tomorrow only to have my phone ping at nine telling me otherwise.
I remember my first snow day with all five kids. By the end of the day, I thought I was going to die. I was exhausted. The problem with snow days is that the kids and the parents get into a routine. The kids are in the routine of going to school and having something to occupy their time for eight hours of the day. The parents have their own routines of work or errands and home keeping. The snow day is the monkey wrench hoe for all parties concerned, especially when the weather wasn't horrible enough to get you off from work. Or maybe you're like me and you just had things to do that day that now just go out of the window. Whatever boat you're in, I feel ya.
After my first snow day experience, I came up with a plan to help me get through the next one.
Start the day with a good breakfast so they won't bug you for snacks all morning.
Find an activity that will tire them out by lunch time. If weather permits, take them outside. If you're stuck in, play a dance game or put on an exercise tape. Getting the kids moving and burning out their energy early will save you later in the day when you're burnt out.
Keep crayons, coloring books and blocks in ready supply. I'm lucky that the current snow day falls right after Christmas. The kids are still very into their gifts and more than happy to go play with them alone, freeing up time for you to get your stuff done.
Get them involved in a project. Like taking down the decorations, housecleaning, laundry, reorganizing the house. Doing a group project together gives the kids a purpose and keeps them busy at the same time.
Save TV time for the afternoon. In the afternoons we usually split up. I have dinner to pull together, the boys are down for a nap and the three older ones are usually winding down. This is the best time to start a movie marathon. It keeps the older ones quiet so the boys can sleep and keeps them occupied and out of the kitchen so I can cook. I learned that by only letting them watch TV when I need to do something, it ensures that they will be kept occupied.
That's how I get through a snow day now. It makes my life so much easier having a plan in the back of my head. It also makes it easier for all of us to enjoy the day together.
How do you make it through snow days?
More from parenting