I don't know about you, but yesterday my day was 56 hours long and I'm pretty sure at one point I saw the clock move backwards. How the hell is it only 8:37am? I'm ready for lunch!!
What caused this strange time phenomenon? Well, we had a lovely March blizzard here in New England yesterday which meant I was trapped in the house all day with 2 very snotty and energetic children, and a dog that had to pee more than usual. It's a snow day, and I'm NOT into it.
God I used to LOVE snow days! An unscheduled day off from school or work? An opportunity to sleep in, wear your PJs all day, and watch trashy TV? Heaven.
But a snow day with children is nothing like the snow day of my youth, or even my early twenties. In one word, it's EXHAUSTING. It begins at the ass crack of dawn, and if your children are anything like mine, the maximum time they can engage in one activity is about 6 minutes. And considering they are awake and need entertainment for about 10 hours, that is 100 activities. All which involve set up, clean up, a costume, a referee and mediator, and a liter of coffee to have the energy to get through it.
It's finally after bedtime (which I may have implemented a good half hour early) and I've come up for air and realized I survived. So over a much needed glass (or two) of red wine, I'd like to share with you how we survived the day. And if you have tips to share, I'm all ears, because with the way the weather has been, I'm confident we'll have a 2 foot snow storm come April.
1. Slow down.
This suggestion is funny because if you know me, you know I often have one speed, and that is fast and efficient. But when it comes to getting through 10+ hours of child entertainment, I've found that really taking our time with everything helps the hours go by. If your kid is into something - do not under any circumstances derail the activity! Let him take his sweet little time, even if that activity involves taking everything out of the cupboard and throwing it onto the kitchen floor.
2. Practice scenery changes
I've noticed that when my kids start to get cranky or bored with an activity, sometimes a simple room change does the trick. And any room goes! We've spent many snow days bopping around from the kitchen, to the bathroom, to the playroom, to the closet, to the living room, and then back to the kitchen, of course leaving a wake of toys and mess in our path, but content nonetheless.
3. Bath time is not just before bedtime.
This is one of my favorite snow day activities. We actually have a jacuzzi tub in our master bathroom, so I fill it with warm water and bubbles and get in with the kids. My son calls it a "pool party" and the whole process takes a good 45 minutes to an hour, from start to finish. It works great in a regular tub too - bring in some new toys or let the kids put on bathing suits, and it pretty much feels like summer. #inmydreams
4. Involve your kids in chores
Working full time outside the house means that one of the hardest things about a snow day for me is being home, but not being able to get things done. So to combat this, I've tried to include my older kid in things like laundry, dishes, and organizing. It's amazing how something as mundane as switching over the laundry can be exciting for a child. Yes, things will take about 5x as long, but refer back to #1 and call it a win.
5. Television is not the enemy
TV has always been my guilty trigger - I used to feel really bad every time I let my 3.5 year old watch more than one show a day (and let's not even talk about how much screen time my 11 month old has had - because #secondkid). But I've learned that sometimes TV is the only break I can get to use the bathroom, respond to some work emails, and well, just sit in silence. I also believe that TV breaks are great for my son, as it gives him some time to relax, be still, engage in a different way, and honestly, he's learned more about nature and animals from Octonauts than I could ever teach him!
So to all you parents out there who survived yesterday's mess, endless chase, forts, lego towers, art projects, junk food, and Barney - I commend you. And can't wait to see you again in person at the playground, where we can compare winter war stories and get some much needed vitamin D!