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Operation Snow Day: School's Out, Now What?

Operation Snow Day: School's Out, Now What?

The snow is falling and baby, it’s cold outside. Your kids have their jammies on inside out, they’ve put spoons under their pillows and flushed ice cubes down the toilet. They just KNOW that these traditions will surely result in the dream of all school-age kids dreams in winter: a snow day. Sure enough, the phone rings at 5:15am and the recorded message on the other end robotically informs you that school is cancelled for today...and tomorrow. 

So here’s the thing: our mama reactions to snow days resemble the characters in Inside Out

Anger: Are you kidding me!?! They JUST had two weeks off of school. When I was a kid I had to walk shoeless in 10 feet of snow…{blah blah blah - you get the point}.

Disgust: So now I have to plan an entire day of activities for these kids? And they’ll probably expect me to feed them at some point, too. Ridiculous.

Fear: What in the WORLD will I do with these kids all day? Do we have enough food? Am I a bad parent for letting them binge watch Netflix? Help me!

Sadness: I really hate missing work. And the kids are going to miss the special guest reader that was scheduled for school today. I don’t have any activities planned out for them...they’ll have a terrible day off.

Joy: Woo hoo! No school = no work for mama, either! It also means I don’t have to feel bad sitting around in my PJs all day! I love getting bonus time with my kids...snow days are like bonus family fun days!

Me? While I’d like to say I always jump for “Joy” when a snow day is called (I mean, who doesn’t love sitting around in jammies?), I’m actually more of a mix between Joy and Fear. As a constant planner I feel the need to be Julie McCoy from the Love Boat and plan out their whole itinerary for the day which, of course, needs to include something educational. I do love spending time with them but I did not become an elementary teacher for good reason. Mustering up patience for three kids (and a puppy!) cooped up in a house all day unplanned is not my forte. So, I let them eat leftover Christmas cookies for breakfast (don’t judge me) before we head to the public library for a bit.  We follow this up with a drop off at the kids playroom at the gym. I get in a work out and the kids get to play with new friends in a tech-free zone for a few hours. The day speeds by quicker than I thought...and we’ve all survived. 


No matter which one of the characters above best reflects your reaction to these unplanned days off of school, the reality is that your kids are home and, most likely, so are you. Check out these tips and ideas from our Mama Knows It team for how to make the most out of snow days with your kiddos:

I have to admit, when the snow day phone call comes through, I’m as happy as the kids.  No lunches to pack, book bags to ready, no worries about getting into a cold car, and pjs for days are enough for me, but what about the kids?  We are pretty go-with-the-flow in this house, so our snow days vary.  We have had too many sled riding adventures, four-wheeler runs, snowman/fort builds to count; followed by hot cocoa of course.  But what do you do on days that school is closed for cold and the previous mentions aren't really an option?  Most days are filled with schedules, school, practices, volunteering, etc. that a day to do nothing is welcomed.  Lego builds, you got it.  Friend sleepover, for sure!  Pumpkin waffles, let me get a bowl.  I’m always up for a kid-guided adventure and we do just that.  Fun is my only concern.  Maybe I can ‘guide’ them to head to Starbucks for peppermint cocoa.  I’d say that’s a win-win snow day for all parties involved.


I have to admit that being in a household where both parents work full time means a snow day isn't cause for a celebration for the grown-ups in the house. Once that automated message gets sent out from the school district, we're comparing our meeting schedules for the next day and figuring out how we're going to tag team corralling a 2 and 4 year old for the day while working remotely. Here are some things that worked for us:

  • My kids are just old enough to be playing together without watching them like a hawk, so we blew the dust off the video baby monitors and had them run around upstairs playing in their rooms (baby gate closed at the top of the stairs!) while we got some work done downstairs. It certainly helped that some of their Christmas presents are still novel to them.
  • I napped when they napped. I just took it roughly around lunch time so it wasn't super suspicious when it came to working remotely. This may have been the best idea I had all day.
  • I just accepted the fact that TV would be a big part of their day and let myself off the hook for letting them stare at endless episodes of Chuggington and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. 

Tomorrow is another snow day and here's what we're doing: Hiring a babysitter for the day so we can put a full day's work in. And you know what? The kids are going to have a blast.


I have four words for all you mamas: Hide-and-go-seek. It is the perfect game for a snow day. Just lay the ground rules out clearly before you start to avoid fights on who seeks next, scary or off limit places and to establish the count time. Looking for a twist? Sardines! Have one kid hide. Everyone else seeks. When someone finds the hider they join them until there is one man standing. Who doesn't get a little excited hearing, "ready or not!..."


If I’m lucky enough to get a snow day with my daughter I’ll surely make the best of it. In my house it is an opportunity to get some chores done during the weekday which in turn gives back some time on the weekend. Together we vacuum, dust and tidy up. Toys get put away and dishes get clean.  It’s great to have a helper and of course there are rewards for good work.  And it’s a given that we’ll stay in our pjs all day.


Happy Hygge | Tips for Relaxing and Cozy Snow Days

Happy Hygge | Tips for Relaxing and Cozy Snow Days