With six kids ranging from one to nine-years-old in my house, a lot of snow days in Portland on the heels of winter break can be overwhelming. Here are seven ideas that have helped our family survive these past couple weeks.
Boots, Gloves, Scarves, Oh My!
We all know the mess, but with our large family, winter accessories can fill a room. This year I decided to grab two empty tubs to fill; one with boots, and the other with all of the clothing. Then I can carry it upstairs, throw them in the dryer so they are ready for when we want to go out and play again. This meant no more wet floors from melted snow and no more grumpy mommy from cleaning up all of the mess!
They Are Hungry Again?
Something about snow days makes my kids extra hungry. They are always asking for snacks, making me quickly run out of ideas that sound delicious. So I started a game with my kids on snow days where I let them pick up to three ingredients to put into a snack. I am amazed at the creations they come up with! One this past week included apples drizzled with honey and topped with coconut. It lets them engage in an activity, it takes up time and well, why not?
Leave Me Alone!
Most of us forget that as much as we want alone time after long snow days at home, our kids need it too. Building in some nap time/quiet time to your daily routine can really help keep the peace at home and help your kids recharge. I was reminded this year that my son doesn’t always know to ask for alone time, so I started building a quiet, alone hour into our day where we all pick a silent activity to do by ourselves while the little ones nap. This usually works best after lunch while their tummies settle. We all come back a little happier and ready for more play time.
What Time is It?
It is so easy to stay in our pajamas and watch movies all day. I love those days! But sometimes we have so many snow days and need to put more structure in our days. I have found that the more short activities we do together the better the kids behave. Maybe we watch a movie, do family chores, play outside in the snow, set up Legos at the table, then eat lunch, bring out the board games, then move to something else…the list goes on. This lets the kids move around and not get bored or start bickering with each other.
Get a Little Silly:
Telling the kids they can go put on their old Halloween costumes sends them running upstairs screaming. We also try to make up games for us all to do. We have been known to steal the balls from our one-year-old’s ball pit so we can all have a war in the living room. Sometimes I suggest that the kids work together to put on a dance show or a skit. It really gives me some quiet time while they practice in the other room and an opportunity to video tape memories when they perform.
For a Rainy Day:
Or in this case, a snowy day. Think of all the activities you saved for a rainy day; the cleaning projects, the books you wanted to read, the yarn sitting in a basket waiting to become a scarf. Just doing one of those each day will make the week go by a little easier. I decided to clean out my pantry, a task that desperately needed to be done after all of the holiday fun. Not only did I feel better with it being organized, but I found baking mixes I could bless my neighbor with, ingredients for a recipe I was craving, and mini marshmallows and toothpicks that were perfect for letting the kids build towers at the table.
Some days we need more conversation with other people. Don’t hesitate to connect with your neighbor, maybe they have some DVDs you can exchange back and forth. Baking cookies is a good way to get some conversation in and check to make sure they are okay. Stepping outside into the fresh air just for a few minutes and chatting with those around you can help you more connected.
We have all had mixed feelings about so many snow days in a row, but we have had them nonetheless. I hope these tips encourage you to add a little balance, structure, and extra silly time to help break up the monotony and routine a bit. I know it has for me!