Making the Best of Snow Days
One mom learns the meaning of a home-school snow day as part of the Care.com Interview Series
When every day is spent at home, snow days run the risk of losing all meaning. Mom 4 Life blogger Heather Ledeboer and her family are still trying to learn what a "typical" snow day means for them now, as they recently began the adventure of homeschooling.
Although new to their flexible schedule, Ledeboer has some great tips for a worthwhile day at home with the kids. She believes in making a big deal out of the little things: a snow cone made out of fresh snow, reading by the fire, and a stockpile of prepared crock-pot dinners goes a long way. Oh, and a little housework and learning will do some good too!
Tell us about your family. How many kids do you have and what are their personalities like?
We have 4 kids, ages 1.5 (the climber), 3.5 (the whiner), 6 (the artist) and 9 (the reader).
You see the school name appear on the closing list. How do your kids react? What's your and/or your spouse's response?
We have recently begun the adventure of homeschooling our children, therefore snow days are appreciated on a different level. We have not yet decided if our kids will enjoy an entire day off should local schools be called off for the day. However, one of the built-in benefits of homeschooling is the flexible schedule. Lately, my husband and I have been the ones doing the happy dance, thankful for the many days we don't have to drive in the snow regardless of an official "snow day or not". Previously we had a one hour round trip to and from the school our kids attended. Because my husband and I both are blessed to work from home, the only reason we have to leave the house is now for voluntary trips to town. Yippee!
Kids have their own rituals for snow days, such as backwards pajamas. Do your kids have any unusual rituals of their own? Do you have any snow day (or anti-snow day!) rituals?
I think having snow day rituals is a fantastic idea. Unfortunately, I have not been creative enough to think that through in the past. I think snow cones made with freshly fallen snow and topped with juice would be a fun start to the day, followed up by books by the fire, a snowball fight, hot cocoa and winter movie.
How do you manage your daily routine when the kids stay home?
Because my husband and I both work from home, this flexible work environment lends itself well to unexpected scheduling changes. However, now that we are doing school at home, we are settling into a new daily at-home routine! He gets up early (5:30AM) so that his workday can end in the early afternoon and our older kids each pitch in with daily age appropriate responsibilities that help the entire family function more smoothly.
Whether it's a snow day or just a cold winter weekend, what are some of your go-to activities?
Our family loves to read books by the fire is always high on our list. I love to bake, so it is not uncommon for one of my older kids to pick out a recipe that sounds like a winner for us to make together. We intentionally limit technology time in our home, which makes the family movies we enjoy on sick days, family movie nights, or now possibly snow days even more appreciated!
Do you consider putting kids to work shoveling or helping out around the house on unexpected days off child labor or unusual cruelty? Would they? Has this issue ever come up in your household?
I actually consider NOT putting my kids to work unusual cruelty. I believe that an important part of my job is a mom is to fully equip my kids for life, which includes making sure they are confident in how to care for a home. We have established this expectation and privilege early so it is not questioned, just expected.
The snow is building up outside, the roads are getting icy and you realize you forgot to go to the grocery store. How do you deal with a house full of hungry bellies with limited resources?
Last month, a friend and I got together at one house and prepared several crock pot freezer meals while our husbands hung out with the kids at the other house. I now have a stock pile of "last minute" dinners for unexpected routine changes and I love the peace of mind that this brings!
Do you and your family have a favorite snow day meal?
We enjoy making homemade ice cream!
What's your BEST tip for other parents on how to make the most of snow days with kids?
Just like anything else with life, I think realizing that we are the driving force that has the power to create positive lasting memories with our children is paramount. Making a big deal out of fun little things is memorable, and I believe that snow days are a perfect place to start!
Heather Ledeboer started with a dream of helping other mothers while being able to stay home with her children. Her dream became a reality with her blog, Mom 4 Life, where she connects her readers with products made by moms for moms. She lives in Idaho with her husband and four children. Find Heather on Twitter and Facebook.
For more helpful tips, check out the Care.com Interview Series: Surviving Snow Days/Sick Days with Your Kids.
Photo used with permission from Heather Ledeboer.