It was a bitter cold winter. The viral rage was throwing pots of boiling water out the door so kids could watch it freeze mid-air. I was beginning to feel like we were back to our homeschooling years. Administrators had closed school so often.
Even if you don’t live in the frigid North like I do, getting stuck indoors with our children should be expected in the early months of each New Year. Ice seems the constant enemy of our friends down south, and oppressive heat even keeps some inside. Cold and flu season also traps at home with our offspring for a disproportionate amount of time.
Enter Frayed Nerves
Parents can predictably find their nerves frayed on these days. Days like these derail our plans. The kids are more demanding. I know I grow weary with the seemingly limitless utterances of, “Moooooooom!” And while I love my children, days upon days of neediness, clinginess, and demands makes me crave my own space.
Snow days and other times cooped up at home were unavoidable. Consequently, this compelled me to find better ways of coping with the cold. There had to be a better way than merely muddling through the miserable.
Give YOURSELF a Snow Day
As a mom who works from home, my default reflex was to push my demanding kids away when we had a snow day. I had an agenda, things to get done, no time for their nonsense. God quickly brought me to my senses, realizing that the more I pushed them away, the clingier they became.
Giving myself a snow day along with my children helped me to abandon my agenda and embrace my kids. Their childhood is fleeting and their needs are great. So the days became sweeter when I was willing to engage with my dysregulated, derailed kids. My shift in attitude transformed our time together from torture to adventure.
Equip for the Inevitable
One of the coolest gifts my kids got for Christmas that year when we seemed eternally frozen to our home was an “indoor s’mores kit.” This creative present from a friend included a ceramic pot that basically housed a can of food-warming fuel with some fondue forks. I made sure I had the graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate bars tucked away for just such a time as this. Breaking it out on a snow day made the time a treasure, creating new memories together.
What other tricks might you tuck up your sleeve for those days where you finally find yourself stuck indoors with the kids at home? Here is a start:
- What interests your child? One of the most innovative places to find a unique treasure to share with your child is Usborne Books. The incredible variety of activity opportunities they offer for children of every interest is AMAZING. From their activity books and puzzle books to their Kid Kits and Learning Palettes, there is something sure to engage your child if you tuck it away for a snowy (or rainy) day.
- Movement is a must. One of the biggest pieces missing from our child’s day when they aren’t at school is physical exertion. Whether you use a small rebounder trampoline in your home or play a game of “Simon Says,” getting bodies in motion will make the day much more tolerable. Even if your child uses a wheelchair or walker, physical therapy can be a missing component on these at-home days. Take advantage of being trapped indoors and have a race to see who can clean their room the fastest. Not only will the running and a fast physical pace be good for your child, they’re learning important self-care skills as you enjoy the benefit of a clean house! Whatever it is, be sure you create that critical motion for your child at home.
- Have a party on the floor. There’s nothing like snuggling in for a floor party on a cold day. We have mocked the weather by pretending we’re on a beach with towels laid out, all the lamps turned on, tropical drinks, and sunglasses; we’ve had board game marathons on top of quilts, with hot cocoa and popcorn; the kids have even had the time of their lives finding every sleeping bag, comforter, blanket, and pillow to build a huge, bedroom-sized landing pad to roll around on. I don’t know what it is about proximity to the floor, but taking a break to get down there with your children always builds special family memories.
- Keep your regular schedule. We know that most of our children with diagnoses thrive on structure. Therefore, it is wise to serve lunch at home the same time they would get it at school. You are smart to keep bedtime routines. This will make the transition back to their regular school days easier.
Embrace the day
Before you know it, the weather will improve and school will be back in session. Treasuring those days with your children rather than resenting them will make for happy memories when they are long past.
What do your “snow days” look like? How can you make them look different?