My kids and I are on the tail-end of an unplanned winter break from school. It is all due to a blizzard that camped out in our area and resulted in a closed down interstate, epic amounts of white powder, and two consecutive snow days. I love having my kids home with me, but snow days can cause me to cringe. I would prefer a two-hour late start over school being canceled. My main beef with snow days is that they mean the school year has to be extended in order to make up for the lost time, and I would rather have my kids home with me during the warmer months than during a cold snap.
Despite the harsh winds, cabin fever, and drifting snow…no one in my family pulled their hair out, sure my voice had to be raised a few times, but all in all we managed just fine while being snowed in at our house. We had so many blizzard alerts in the weekend leading up to our snow days that I had a game plan in mind. My fun and time consuming ideas for the kids included making slime, Lego wars per an earlier suggestion by Tessa, and some good old-fashioned baking. But in the end I did none of these things, and it all still worked out just fine.
Embrace the Slow Moving Morning
There is nothing better than being able to rest longer and have a casual morning. Sleeping in late at my house is hardly ever an option. I mean, 7:30am is sleeping in late for us all. So when I heard there was no school, my husband and I let the kids stay up late the night before watching a show. (Amazon Prime’s animated series Lost in Oz is currently a huge hit in our house.) Our bedtime ritual was less rushed and all the children were instructed to sleep in as late as possible. Like, maybe 7:45am if their eyelids could manage such an unthinkable feat.
The slow start to our snow day mornings led to a later than normal breakfast which included coffee for me and toast with cinnamon sugar for the kids. It was a leisurely breakfast followed by a mandate to brush teeth, but changing out of pajamas was optional.
It was an awesome way to start our two days of hooky. Typically breakfast is done so quickly and efficiently because the bus is coming, and everyone has to be constantly moving in order to make sure hair is combed, backpacks are ready, and faces are washed.
Just Leave the Kids Alone
While I was cleaning up the counter from breakfast, my kids made their way to the basement and began playing on their own. I took this as a sign to start some laundry. Well, some laundry led to washing all of the bedding and also turning the vacuum loose in all the bedrooms. I left my kids alone, except to have my daughters strip their beds and deliver their sheets to me. It was one of those times where my children seemed to understand that if they stayed out of my way, then I would stay out of their way. Essentially I gave them some independence and they ran with it for the rest of the morning.
This obviously does not always work and some quarreling broke out between my two daughters and preschool son, but to my credit I just left them alone to deal with it. This is something I am working on in life because I micromanage way, way, way too much. Giving them some breathing room worked out well for the earlier hours of both snow days. My children got to run their own games and agenda downstairs, while the baby and I mostly hung out upstairs.
Lunch, afternoon, evening, and beyond
The kids and I regrouped at lunch on both snow days. I got to hear everyone’s grievances of who pushed who and who hurt whose feelings during the games of Giant Jenga, which later turned into a make-believe boat lost at sea. Aside from a few eye rolls and mandated apologies, I think a good time was had by all. I served up picnic style lunches and made plans for the afternoon that solely revolved around the snow. Since I had kept them inside during the two mornings, my crew was busting to lay down snow angels and configure some fort building as we entered the afternoon hours.
The weather may have been a blizzard, but it was not too cold that kids could not be outside. They killed a lot of time chasing each other with snow balls and “helping” clear the driveway with their mini-toy shovels and scoops. The freezing, wet, white stuff zapped their energy, but not their spirit. All my kids came in excited from outdoor play and ready to sit in front of the fire place with a snack and hot chocolate.
I embraced the cozy evening by making homemade pizza one night and loose meat sandwiches the next evening. Both latter parts of the snow days ended in book reading and some screen time for all. Basically, we did nothing yet still had fun and I was able to realize that unstructured times have the ability to be the best of times.