How do you survive a snow day with the kids at home?

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You can read that title to the tune of the Sound of Music song “How do you solve a problem like Maria?”

It truly can be quite a challenge.  Since I office from the house for my paying gig, it doesn’t matter if there is a snow day or not….I get to “go” to work.  Since a snow day is a disruption to the normal schedule it always seems like things just don’t flow like I would want.

Well, last week I had several days for experimenting as we had delayed starts, early dismissals and full-on snow days.

I found one thing that I love….it will surprise you….yes, it made my snow day on Thursday go sooooo smoothly.

A list.

Yep that is it…a list made my life better.

I know, you are shocked!  Well, not really.  A person that began asking for a filing cabinet in the third grade usually is the type that likes lists too.

But sometimes I forget my love of lists and I leave things to just flow.

Well, I don’t do “flow” well.

So, Thursday morning I jotted down about  eight things that my girls needed to have finished by 7:45 PM.  If they had finished to my satisfaction, then they could stay up to watch Winter Wipeout.  They love that show and it was a great motivator.  I made it clear that if one of them finished the list and not the other that only one would be watching the show while the other one drifted off to sleep in her room.

My list wasn’t a crazy list of items.  Really it just had all the things that I would normally ask them to do in a day with a few more things added to it as they had extra hours with no school in session.

Emily’s list:

  • Finish her pictures for the writing assignment due on Friday
  • Work on her school newspaper assignment
  • Practice piano
  • Clean the upstairs half-bath’s sink and mirror
  • 30 minutes of computer time
  • pick-up her bedroom
  • Read at least 3 “logs” for school
  • 15 minutes on the math machine
  • Take a bath/shower

Heather’s list:

  • Finish the letter page
  • Do the “P” word page
  • Eye Drops (we had a round with pink eye in our house)
  • Read a book to Mom or Dad
  • Clean the downstairs bathroom sink and mirror
  • 30 minutes of computer time
  • pick-up her bedroom
  • Remove all toys from the main level of the house to her room
  • Take a bath.

They were able to get all of this done and have time to play in the snow and watch some PBS shows.  And the best part was that I didn’t have to say much more than “What next from the list?” and “7:45 is coming”.

We are really trying to work with Emily on managing her time.  I think this list was helpful in letting her see that, yes, she could go down and see if her friend could play but she was still responsible for getting everything done.

I am pleased to report that both girls got to watch Wipeout.

Now, I wish I could say that the list has continued to grace our family schedule and each day has clicked along just fine….but no….it requires some preparation on my part.  That stinks, but it is reality.  If I don’t make a list my girls just don’t naturally look around and see what they need to do to contribute to the family or to finish their responsibilities for their “jobs” as students.  But if I can keep at it then maybe it will build into them some self-management skills.  If I can use the list on a regular basis and then pull back and begin to let them make their own lists— that might lead to some internal management.

It would be fun to have them make a list and me make a list and see how close we come.  We aren’t there yet…for now, I will be making all the lists.

Well, that was my snow day survival.

Let me say that yes, I’m all for a lazy, snow day with the family…but we have had plenty of opportunity for those already.  I can’t be lazy on every snow day or this season I wouldn’t get anything done!

How do you survive a snow day?  Leave a comment.

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One response »

  1. Well, I don’t know yet. But I hope tomorrow I can share with you my coping skills=) I am supposed to be called by 5 am if school is canceled down here.

    I too am a list maker! I appreciate your organization skills!

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