Right now in Boston we have more than 7 feet of snow on the ground. Public transportation is having a hard time keeping up, traffic is worse than it’s ever been as buses can’t get by parked cars and sidewalks are dead ends leaving people to walk on the city streets in traffic. Parents are spending more time than usual inside, trying to work from home on weekends and snow days to keep up.
Kids are bored and full of energy. We’re all starting to fall apart a little bit. Here are a few ideas to help make it all bearable that we’ve discovered through all these days of trial and error. So much error.
Lots of screen time, no guilt
Our general rule is no screen time on school days, free-for-all screen time on snow days/sick days/weekends. This starts to feel like a bad idea when you’ve had three snow days after a weekend, but fight that guilt hard. Parents still have work to do and kids are bored with being stuck inside. A few extra episodes of My Little Pony are just fine. Or maybe a whole season.
Bring the snow inside
When there’s too much snow outside, bring some inside. Make snow ice cream! Make a ski lodge for Playmobil people! Get out the spoons and measuring cups and bowls and a pile of towels for fun in the snow without all the cold.
Put a mattress on the floor in the living room
Jumping on beds is pretty much the most exciting thing you can do as a kid. Unfortunately, most exciting doesn’t mean allowed. This is both for jumping because jumping on beds is the most fun ever, and also for playing on. It can be a stage for a show. It can be a soft place for parents to sit while playing LEGO for the millionth time. Or it can be a great place to play my favorite game, “Let’s pretend to take a nap!”
Going outside can be exhausting with so much snow, but if parents and kids are dressed properly, it is worth the way too much time it takes to get ready to go out. Our favorite is to walk around the neighborhood to check on our fire hydrants to make sure they’re shoveled out. Don’t expect to stay out too long or get too much accomplished while outside with kids, though.
Try to have perspective
When this is all over, we will remember more of the good parts than the bad. It helps to be present in the good as much as you can while leaving the space you need for stress relief and weeping under a pile of blankets once the kids are in bed. That’s totally allowed. Spring will eventually come. I think.