Snow Day Tips For Stay-at-Home Working Parents

A snow day for kids is almost as exciting as the holidays, but if you work from home, a snow day can be a blizzard of chaos. Even if you don’t have snow days in your neck of the woods, it’s a good idea to prep for an unexpected school closing when you’re a stay-at-home-working-parent (SAHWP). If you don’t, you could lose your mind!

The Snowman Cometh

Just because you’re a SAHWP, doesn’t mean you can write the day off, play in the snow, and make cup after cup of hot cocoa. If an immediate deadline or labor-intensive project can’t be put off, you’ll need to have a plan ready when you get the notification that school has been canceled. It may seem a little over-the-top, but a snow day schedule will save your sanity. Schedule your day so there is time for work, play, and meals with your children.

A timer is effective in this scenario. Set the timer to signal working hours, snack or meal time, outdoor time and quiet time. Talk with other SAHWP’s ahead of time so that when the snow flies, you can schedule a morning play date at their house and an afternoon playdate at yours. This is good if you need quiet time for Skype or conference calls.

Snow Day Box

Buy a large container and label it “Snow Day Box.” Only haul this out when a snow day (or other unexpected school closing) is issued. It will be much cooler to the kids and something they can look forward to opening. This box, when properly equipped, will keep your sanity in check and workday humming. Here are some suggestions, but tailor it to fit your kid’s tastes and abilities:

  • Acrylic paint
  • Colored pencils
  • Crayons
  • Scissors
  • Paint Brushes
  • Drop Cloth
  • Glitter
  • Googly eyes
  • Recyclables for mixing paint, cleaning brushes
  • Stretched canvas
  • Construction paper
  • Glue sticks/glue/decoupage glue/tape
  • Scrap fabric/yarn/ribbon
  • Foam shapes and letters
  • Play-Doh
  • Cookie cutters/plastic utensils
  • Styrofoam balls
  • Wooden beads
  • Popsicle sticks
  • DVD’s
  • Old school games like dominos, I Spy cards and checkers
  • 25-50 piece puzzles
  • Non-perishable “Snow Day” snacks like cocoa mix, granola bars, cookies, fruit snacks, etc.

Take Your Kids to Work

So your commute is super short, but even if your office is in the corner of the formal dining or an actual addition to your house, your kids can “go to work” with you for a portion of the snow day. If you have kids of varying ages, it might be possible to include them in your workday. Tween and teens can help you by greeting clients, filing, walking to the post office or even babysitting younger siblings (pay or reward them – it’s their snow day too!). Younger children can help with sorting mail, stamping envelopes, stapling or color-coded filing.

Lunch Break

Regardless of a snow day, you have to stop working to eat lunch at some point. If the kids already packed their lunches the night before, have a picnic together in the living room. If lunches weren’t packed, make lunch with the kids. English muffin pizzas are easy and generally a hit. Just spread some pasta or pizza sauce on the muffins, top with cheese, veggies or leftover chicken and bake for 10-15 at 350.

Activities That Don’t Require a Watchful Eye

Most kids will be able to do the following activities with little supervision – giving you time to get some work done!

Drawing Assignments: Even if your kid’s artistic ability leans towards stick figure, this is fun drawing “assignment.” Give them drawing prompts like: Draw the view from outside the dining room window. Draw three things that begin with the letter T (if you want to stump them, use the letter Q). Draw a picture with their eyes closed (make sure your table is covered with something...)

Buckets of Snow: Bring in some buckets of snow. Fill the sink or bathtub with it and let them play. Add Barbie’s or action figures and let them role play. This should keep them busy for at least 15 minutes.

Indoor Scavenger Hunt: Print out a list to keep in the Snow Day Box. Have the kids look for specific items like something round, hard, cold, red, furry, soft, etc.

Forts and Blanket Tents: Blanket forts are always a hit. Just move the knick knacks off the coffee tables and have the kids haul out their blankets. Flashlights and pillows with some books could fit the bill for “quiet time” on the schedule.

Cardboard City: Cardboard boxes are great for cardboard cities that kids build for their action figures, cars or dolls. Place a drop cloth on the floor and use water-based paints, markers or crayons to create a cardboard city.

Play-Doh Bake-Off: Play-Doh, cookie cutters and plastic utensils are all that is needed for a bake-off. Initiate a contest to create the best-decorated “cookie” and “cake.”

Puzzle Races: Answer a few emails while your kids do puzzle races. Have the kids sit around the table and hand out the 25-50 piece puzzles and see who can finish first. Pass the puzzle around and have another race until all the puzzles are used.

Collage: Take magazines, newspapers and catalogs and give the kids safety scissors and a glue stick to make their own collage. If anything that captures their attention, tell them to glue it down, or assign specific themes!

What are some of your tips for surviving a snow day when you’re a SAHWP? Share with us!

Tags : motherhood   working moms   snow days   

Camille Aud
So many great ideas. It's so hard to work when kids are home : (