Leave it to Mother Nature to throw a wrench into your meticulously constructed schedule. Every minute counts for adult learners trying to juggle education, work, and family, so the announcement of a snow day sets the stage for chaos.
Are you doomed to playing ringleader to a household of kids with cabin fever instead of working on your geometry homework? Not necessarily. Consider these strategies for keeping your sanity – and getting something accomplished – during inclement weather.
Modern technology often can predict snow well before a storm happens, so keep an eye on weather forecasts. If you suspect schools will be closed on Thursday, it may be worth staying up late Wednesday night while the kids are sleeping to read a biology chapter in peace.
Also, take steps to deal with a Nor’easter that comes out of nowhere by creating an “emergency” kit at the start of the season. Fill it with items your kids can pull out only on unexpected days off. While they are absorbed in a video game they rarely get to play or busy with brand new Play-Doh, you can get work done.
Develop an agenda
Without structure, the day can end up as a free-for-all. Kids are used to a teacher announcing how activities will flow, so follow that lead and provide a layout. You’ll gain quiet, uninterrupted periods when you can work, and they’ll know what to expect.
A sample morning schedule might look something like this:
8:30-9: Coloring (while you study)
9-10: Outdoor fun in the snow
10-11: TV show
11:30-12: Silent reading time
Negotiation can be a win-win for everyone. Promise to help the kids make slime if they can quietly entertain themselves for an hour while you respond to class conversation online. Or use the snow day as an opportunity to catch up on household chores. You may find several bored kids willing to lend a hand in exchange for $5.
Other parents face the same circumstance as you, so see if neighbors want to arrange childcare trades. You might take the morning shift, while another trustworthy adult handles afternoon duties. An added plus is that kids occupy one another, so you may be able to get a task or two done while they play.
Finally, realize that snow days fluster everyone. Unexpected events call for quick thinking and revised expectations, so save your energy for action rather than laments. Don’t beat yourself up if the kids compile way more screen time than you’d like because you needed to focus without disturbance. Likewise, if you end up giving in to the kids’ request to take them to a nearby hill for sledding and then stay longer than expected, put guilt aside and enjoy the memories created.