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The Importance of Maintaining Routines for Children on Snow Days

Snow day!

Snow day!

Here in the Midwest, we are experiencing a record-breaking amount of school cancellations due to weather.  It is fun to have an occasional random day to stay home and relax.  However, weekly snow days – sometimes more than one per week – can make it difficult for children to be ready to learn when they are back in school.  Here are some things to think about for the next time you have a snow day

Children with Anxiety

For children that have anxiety about going to school, all these changes in their routine can be very difficult.  Your child may struggle with going to school the next day.  When there are multiple days off in a short period of time, you may find that your child is starting to have a lot of rough mornings.  Keep in mind:

  • Make sure you get your child to school on the days that school is open.  Try to avoid any mental health days or days when your child is tired or not feeling 100%, but isn’t truly ill.  Extra days off may just make it much harder for your child to go back to school when inevitably they have to go.  Here are four symptoms that mean your child must stay home from school.
  • The rough mornings will end.  Once a regular routine of going back to school is… well, routine again, your child will be less grumpy and better able to get going in the mornings.
  • Think of it like having a bunch of unplanned Mondays.  Monday mornings are often hard for everyone.  The day after a snow day can really feel like a Monday for families.  Try to roll with it.

Have a Plan

If you need to work and cannot stay home with your children, have a solid back-up plan.  If you are stressed and scrambling for childcare, your children might pick up on your anxiety and worry themselves. 

Sleep

It is tempting to let your child stay up late and sleep in when you know in advance that there is a snow day or a delay.  Try to avoid changes in sleep routines as it could make it harder for your child to stick to their normal sleep time the next day.

Routine

Get up!  Take that shower!  Brush those teeth!  As much as we want to lounge in our pajamas all day on snow days, it can make it harder the next day for your child to get ready for school. 

Medication

Talk to your doctor if you have concerns regarding side effects your child might have if you skip days of ADHD medication they normally would take on a school day.  Some children struggle when days are missed.  In addition, it may be difficult to remember medication the next day if the routine is changed.

Exercise

Getting some physical activity in can help your child manage their energy as well as boredom.  If it is warm enough, get outside and sled or build a snowman.  Some of my favorite memories with my children are pulling them down the sidewalk on a sled in the early evening as the snow fell.  If you are in a polar vortex, have a dance party or have a family yoga session

Screen Time

Try to avoid a huge increase in screen time over snow days as it can lead to increased irritability, difficulty sleeping, and more struggles with focus when your child returns to school.  Try some great screen-free activities from this awesome list.

Act Like It is Sunday

Treating snow days like Sundays can be helpful for keeping children ready to learn the next day.  On Sunday evenings we tend to prepare for the week and get a good night’s sleep. 

Do Not Let the Kids See These

…tested strategies for making a snow day happen found here.

Snow heart

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