How to Survive Snowmageddon With Your Kids: A Mom’s Guide to Having Fun and Staying Sane

How to Survive Snowmageddon With Your Kids: A Mom’s Guide to Having Fun and Staying Sane

Snowmaggedon

If you are trapped inside with your kids because of a blizzard, an ice storm, or dangerously cold temperatures, you can feel a little desperate for entertainment options and a way to keep your kids from killing each other. Trust me. I have been there. Last time I was in the snow day trenches, one simple day home turned into FOUR, which tested my resources and my sanity. Here’s how I slogged through cold days in a small house with 4 kids fighting underfoot.

  1. Banish your inner Miss Hannigan, and summon Mary Poppins instead. Snow days are not for day drinking, my friends. Put down your wine glass and pull out your (metaphorical) bag of mom tricks. My favorite thing to do on a long day home with the kids and nowhere to go is to pretend that I am actually the nanny and that these kids’ parents will be home at the end of the day. Then when my husband pulls into the driveway, I disappear like magic. Kidding. But I usually leave him with the kids and go do something indulgent just for me. Like laundry.
  2. Lower your expectations. Every minute is not going to be a blast. You’ll be bored. They’ll be bored. The dog will probably poop in the house. None of this is your fault.
  3. Figure out when your kids are naturally best behaved, and do all of your chores then. My kids are usually really happy and willing to leave me alone for about 2 hours right after breakfast, so this is when I do housework, exercise, take a shower, etc.
  4. Two words: JUNK FOOD. During our last snowpocalypse, we made 3 batches of cookies, a yellow cake with chocolate frosting, and fudge. Plus my husband brought home donuts. Desperate times.
  5. Speaking of desperation, FORGET SCREEN TIME LIMITS. What’s 6 hours of iPad time between friends? It’s the difference between Joan Crawford and June Cleaver. Who cares what the Beave is watching on YouTube if he’s not beating the heck out of Wally or asking you for another snack?
  6. Say yes whenever possible. I have noticed that when I say no, it’s most often out of laziness. On snow days, I try really hard to never let the n-o word cross my lips. Play Doh in the living room? Sure. Whole-house NERF battle? Whatever. A bikini and a bunch of Barbies in the bathtub? Knock yourself out.
  7. Leave the house! You will not flash freeze and shatter on the way to the car. As long as the roads are drivable, DRIVE THEM. Open gyms, restaurants, movie theaters—if they’re open, you should go to there. I know; kids’ movies are usually terrible, but hey! At least no one is screaming at you. Probably.
  8. Be a prepper. I stocked up on library books, beefed up my precious junk food stash, made sure we had coffee and toilet paper, and upgraded my phone plan so I could have a hotspot in case the children’s media consumption threatened my own.
  9. Reduce your stress. If at all possible, take a vacation day or a personal day at work so you can focus your attention on your kids. Don’t worry about keeping your house clean. Instead, set a timer for about a half hour before your spouse gets home and run around like a crazy person putting all the toys away and loading the dishwasher. Try to make your day as easy as possible.
  10. Schedule a reward for yourself when everything is back to normal. My husband at I ended each snow day with a couch date where we relaxed and watched some truly terrible television, and I scheduled an hour-long massage for the day the kids (finally!) went back to school. On our last snow day, when the four kids in my house doubled to eight, thoughts of this massage kept me as tranquil as a fifties housewife, without vodka or valium.

How do you survive snow days? Give me your best tips in the comments.

Sarah Jedd has a Ph.D. in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches and studies the rhetoric of Planned Parenthood. Sarah has 5 (F I V E) children: teens Harry and Jack, elementary schoolers Cooper and Dorothy, and sweet baby Minnie, born in August 2020. Sarah blogs about being a mom of many at harrytimes.com and overshares on IG as @sarahjedd. Sarah, her husband, and their kids live in Verona with the world's laziest dog.

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