Keeping The Kids Busy on a Snow Day
As kids -- they are the BEST DAYS EVER. You wake up early, hear the news there is NO SCHOOL and you immediately start to plan the chaos that you will create while your parents are at work. My parents were nurses, so there was a good likelihood that at least one of them would be home with us. That can be a blessing -- and a curse.
Here are some great ideas for you to keep your kids busy -- and yourself sane -- on snow days.
FOR THE PARENTS WHO WILL WORK FROM HOME: You've got the best (and worst) of the day. You have to get your job done -- but the kids can't be a huge distraction. Here are some quick and fun ways to help them have fun and get your work done: 1. Split a lunch hour into 3 20-minute sections. Schedule the sessions in the mid-morning, around lunch and in the afternoon. These 20 minute sessions will give you the opportunity to play a quick card game with the kids, help them start a craft or get them set up with snacks and a new movie. You still get to spend a little time with them and get your work done, too. 2. Set up some easy crafts the kids can do. There is a great list on About.com. Click here to see if you can tailor any of these to your kids' interests.
FOR THE PARENTS WITH OLDER KIDS There is no doubt that your kid will spend exactly every second you are gone at work to play 8 hours of MineCraft and take a break only to mess up the kitchen and text 100 of their friends. You will not be able to talk to these kids because they will also be on the home phone and / or they have left it off the charger so the battery is completely gone. For this group of older kids, just give them a list of things to do -- and get out of their way. Some of our favorites: 1. The kitchen needs to be clean by the time I get home. 2. Clean your bathroom (in the same way I would clean it with bathroom cleaners and paper towels). 3. Look up something good for us to cook for dinner and make sure we have all the ingredients. 4. Dust or vacuum something -- doesn't matter what. 5. The rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish. As a parent of a pre-teen, it's also important to know how to set the family timer on your game systems so their eyes do not bleed from playing video games all day -- and to also remind them that you have top-secret access to everything that happens on every digital device and no matter how many times they wipe the browser history -- you will still find what they did.
FOR LITTLE KIDS WHILE YOU TAKE THE DAY OFF WORK: When we have snow days, we always find more kids in our house than usual. That's because we have a group of friends who might not have flexible schedules. If that's you, too, you'll likely have kids at the house that are not yours. Make sure you: 1. build in movie time, play time, snack time and quiet time. 2. Recognize every kid will fight with another kid if they have too much time to spend together. 3. Plan one fun activity and give them a time it will happen (we'll make chocolate chip cookies at 2pm. You guys have to get along till then, or we won't be able to do it). 4. Give them a chance to cool down and mix up play time with movie time.
Whether you do drawing competitions or play charades or take the kids out for 20 minutes to play in the slush -- make sure you vary the activities and set the rules in advance so everyone knows today is special -- but there are still rules.