The Creative Parent’s Guide to Being Snowed In With Kids

Most kids love snow days but it can be a challenge for working parents to keep the unexpected time together enjoyable and productive. If there’s heavy snow in your forecast, try these techniques for creating a good time for the whole family.

Indoor Fun for Snow Days with Kids

  1. Eat a hearty breakfast. If you’re always rushing around in the morning to get to work and school on time, this is a great time to sit down and enjoy breakfast. Try making some old fashioned oatmeal with raisins. Break out the waffle iron. Squeeze fresh orange juice.
  2. Make some cocoa. Cocoa is another winter delight. Forget about the instant packets with all those chemicals. Use fresh milk or non-dairy milk. Add unsweetened cocoa and vanilla and sweeten to taste.
  3. Eat comfort foods. Comfort foods are designed for cold days. Whip up a healthy bowl of bean and pasta soup. Bake lasagna and freeze half for a fast and delicious meal some other evening.
  4. Do some crafts. Get in touch with your creative side. Set out some craft supplies and join your kids in building their design skills. There are plenty of instructions online for everything from sugar cube igloos to DIY snow globes.
  5. Watch a movie together. Snuggle up on the couch with a good movie. You can munch on popcorn and discuss the movie together afterwards.
  6. Study a new subject. If possible, let your kids take a day off from their usual schoolwork. Introduce them to a new subject. If they’re interested in science, try fossils and constellations. Junior artists may want to know more about Pop Art.
  7. Play a board game. If you’ve got an afternoon free, take out a board game. Let your kids pick their favorite and try to make everyone feel like a winner.
  8. Go through old photos together. Reinforcing family memories is one way to draw closer together. Show your kids pictures of themselves in younger days and remind them how much you always enjoy being with them.

Outdoor Fun for Snow Days with Kids

  1. Dress warmly. If the weather is relatively mild, dress warmly so you can experience the snow. Dress in layers, starting with long underwear. Remember your hat, mittens and boots.
  2. Shovel the sidewalk. Before you start playing around, shovel the sidewalk. It will help everybody avoid slips and falls.
  3. Make snow angels. Snow angels are fun for all ages. You just lie on your back and sweep your arms and legs back and forth.
  4. Build a snowman. Put together a snowman while the snow is still clean and white. Give him a carrot nose and button eyes.
  5. Take a nature walk. Unless the snow is extremely deep, you may be able to take a tour on foot across the neighborhood or at least around your back yard. Watch your children’s surprise at how different everything looks under a layer of snow. Pay attention to animal tracks and snowdrifts.
  6. Help out wildlife. You can help your children develop compassion by showing them how to help animals. Explain that frozen water is difficult for them to drink, so you’re going to put out warm buckets periodically for the birds to use. Let your kids rub a pinecone with peanut butter and roll it under a tree for some lucky squirrel to find.

Snow days can be a great opportunity to enjoy extra family time and the beauty of nature. Get outdoors for some fresh air or enjoy fun and educational indoor activities.

Help Your Children Adjust to a New Baby

Getting a baby brother or sister is a milestone in any child’s life. To minimize the family stress associated with a new addition to the family, you’ll want to help your children adjust with these practical strategies while you’re expecting and after your baby is born.

Steps to Take While You’re Expecting

1. Get an early start on any major changes to daily routines. Give your child time to adapt to any big transitions long before the new baby comes home. This may include moving to a new bedroom, toilet training, or starting preschool.

2. Talk with your children. Let your kids know what to expect. Give them a chance to ask questions and express their concerns.

* New parents are bound to be tired and less attentive. Explain that this is just temporary and assure them of your love. Take a positive tone, but be respectful of any anxieties your child feels.

3. Read books together. There are many children’s books and videos that discuss getting a new brother or sister. They can help your child understand the process and make it easier for them to talk about their feelings.

4. Practice with a doll. Give your son or daughter a doll they can use to learn how to hold a baby. Praise them as they get the hang of supporting the head and using a gentle touch.

5. Share family memories. Break out the old baby books and tell your son or daughter how excited you were about their birth. Look through their baby pictures and pick some out to display around the house.

6. Invite your child to participate in your pregnancy. Bring them to your prenatal visits and see if your hospital will give them a tour.

* Some families even bring their kids into the delivery room. If you plan to do this, ensure they’re well briefed and have an adult assigned to watch over them.

7. Make your baby’s homecoming a team effort. Give your kids a role to play. They may want to select the outfit the baby will wear home or help send out birth announcements. Make the day special with a cake and some small gifts for every family member.

Steps to Take After Your Baby is Born

1. Spend regular one-on-one time with your child. However busy your schedule gets, set aside time to give each child your full attention. Plan special outings or let them choose a book or game to enjoy together.

2. Encourage visitors to notice all your kids. It’s easy for your son or daughter to feel left out when everyone is fussing over the baby. Make a deliberate effort to steer positive attention their way. Bring them into group discussions and brag a little about their accomplishments.

3. Work as a team in caring for the new baby. Find age-appropriate tasks your kids can excel at. Even toddlers can help by smiling and talking with their new sibling. Older kids may want to pitch in with bathing and feeding. Let your family find its own comfort level.

4. Respect your child’s privacy. Siblings are great for teaching how to share, but your child probably still wants some items and places to call their own. Honor their preferences for toys they’re happy to share and possessions that they want to use exclusively.

5. Praise your child for their contribution to your growing family. Most of all, let your son or daughter know how much you appreciate them. Applaud their progress in becoming more independent and giving of themselves to help the family run smoothly.

It’s challenging to deal with a new sibling. Give your children lots of attention and guidance to help keep harmony in the family. The relationship between brothers and sisters is a precious gift, so get them off to a great start.