Keeping Kids Entertained On Snow Days
If you live in the New England area, I’m sure you’ve been affected in some way by snow this winter. My daughter’s school has been cancelled for four days with two additional days being delayed openings…all within a two week time frame! I remember when I was younger I used to LOVE snow days. But now, being a single working parent, not so much. Recently, during what became known as the Blizzard of 2015, I wasn’t prepared at ALL. I knew school would be cancelled, but luckily I have an amazing job where working from home isn’t frowned upon. So with work taken care of, I figured I was in the clear. Boy, was I wrong!
My daughter woke up bright and early, which is ironic because I’m usually dragging her out of bed at the very same time on a school day. She sat on the couch, ate breakfast and watched a TV show for 30 minutes. And then she was bored. Not the kind of bored where she can go find something to do with the hundreds of toys she has all around the house, but the kind of bored where she was whining and hanging on me because she wanted me to entertain her. So I put together a few “projects” that kept her entertained for a couple hours. We ate lunch together and then I put together a few more “tasks” that I knew would keep her busy for the remainder of the day.
Day 1 was a success. But later that night, I got the call from her school that school would be cancelled again the next day. I spent the next few hours lying in bed thinking about what I could possibly do to entertain her so I would be able to get my work done. I was clueless, but figured I’d put my Super Mom cape on and just wing it again. After all, today wasn’t so bad!
She woke up a bit later than usual the second day and just laid on the couch. Was I dreaming? Or was my daughter just relaxing and enjoying the snow day? She complained a bit that her stomach hurt, but I just figured she needed to use the bathroom. I was able to get tons of work done and prepare for a Work/Life Integration parent webinar Bright Horizons was hosting at 12:30 p.m. that day where I would be live tweeting for our Twitter followers. At about 12:10 p.m., my daughter threw up all over herself and my fabric couch. I froze for a second before starting to panic. Not wanting her to feel bad for being sick, I tried my hardest to remain calm. I knew I only had 20 minutes to get her comfortable and clean up all the mess! I carried her upstairs and gave her the quickest bath possible, washing her hair and all. I grabbed her clothes on the way downstairs and brought her down in a towel. I sprayed some Lysol on the couch and wiped it as fast as I could. The webinar began and I was getting my daughter dressed in between hearing Stew Freidman discuss tips for integrating work and life and tweeting it all as he spoke. So, it’s safe to say my work/life integrating skills were definitely being put to test!
We survived that week of snow days, only to find out this week we would be getting another small storm. However, this time around I prepared myself. Here are three tips I found useful.
1. Plan activities the night before. Get toys and games together. Create an obstacle course or scavenger hunt. Think up activities your child can do by themselves and make a schedule of the day. Find a movie they might like to watch.
2. Set expectations the night before. Talk to your child about what you’ll be doing the next day and what is expected of them.
3. Take a break, if you can. Don’t be afraid to take a couple hours off from work if you have the vacation time to use or can make up the work at a later time. On our very last snow day, I took two hours mid-day to venture out into the wintry landscape and go sledding with my daughter. We had such an amazing time, and that night once she was in bed, I was able to get back online for a few hours to make up the time I had missed. It was well worth it!
Now for the shoveling and cleaning part – unfortunately I have no advice for that!