If you found this article, chances are you are either currently in pre-Snow Day or mid-Snow Day mode, madly Googling to find out how to work with kids at home during an unplanned snow day, and how to not lose your mind. You might be losing all hope in your business in general, especially if you have several snow days in a row.
Let me tell you now: It will be ok!! This too shall pass. We're just going to navigate this Snow Day carefully. It could end up being your best day ever. Key ingredients are being flexible, and having forgiveness for what does not happen, while remembering what does happen.
Pre-Snow Day might have you hyperventilating at the thought of no school, of meetings needing to be canceled, classes of your own that you teach needing to be canceled, creating inconsistency in a consistent schedule you worked so hard to establish, and so on.
Mid-Snow Day might find you facing the worst, telling yourself that it's over, you may as well throw in the towel now because why bother trying. But this is just the fear talking - all will be well! Especially if you follow these steps.
Before we get into the tips of my Snow Day Survival Kit When Working From Hom With Kids, know this: all will be well. You will get through this, and you may get done more than you realize.
Forgiveness: The final step in this Survival Kit is to pat yourself on the back, because it will be very important to recognize yourself for what you did do, not what you didn't. Be real, and let go of things you can't do. It will all work out.
Make a List
If you have quiet time in advance of everyone waking up, make a list of what you need to do today. Do this while enjoying your morning coffee and unloading or loading the dishwasher. Let the items come into your head as they come. Catch them on paper. Later on during the day, you will use this list if you have a window of work time. Refer to the list to tell you exactly what to do. Chances are, you won't remember what it was you wanted to do when the opportune moment of time comes. With the list, you can simply pick it up, and let it tell you what to do right at this moment.
Get Dressed - Shower Up
Helpful is being dressed for the day. I know people talk about working in their pajamas and all that, but really, looking good is feeling good. It's a way to kick-start your brain into gear, and you'll be ready to go outside at any point. Plus, you'll most likely have those "shower brainstorms" where a light bulb goes off about something. I even wear shoes inside all during the work-day hours. It helps keep you focused.
Playdates as Entertainment
Know your playdate options. Take a read on yourself at the beginning of the day to see if you can handle a playdate at your house, or if it adds stress. Sometimes playdates can be helpful! Other times they can involve the production of a lot of snacks and projects. Which could be fine if you didn't have a big deadline to somehow finish. If today isn't the day, feel comfortable politely saying no. Your friend will understand, and has been there too. Sometimes it's just easier to cocoon everyone inside and orbit in your own world to get things done smoothly.
Stretch and Do Fitness
We are still in pre-game mode, but if possible, do some stretching, jumping jacks, and pushups before the day. This is helpful to get the toxins moving around, and your positive endorphins flowing. If you have a baby or toddler, this may be tricky as they want to crawl on you. Consider picking them up as extra weight as you do leg lifts. Or make them into an arm curl!
Eat. You Must Eat. Avoid Sugar (sorry, includes syrup)
Even though the kids just finished waffles, resist swirling the last few bites around the plate in a satisfying finish. The sugar can trigger prickly bad mood vibes in you, so stick to veggies and protein.
Divide Day Into Sessions :: Work Session / TV Session / Play Session
Deposit into your kids' day by playing with them, letting them watch TV, and generally making a deposit into being together on the Snow Day. This way, when you need to work in a hyper-focus zone, you won't feel the guilt, and they won't feel the pull to get your attention.
Even though my kids are 6 and 8 at the time of this writing, I am guessing this also works for older kids. I know it works for hubbies who also want attention on The Day (this is from experience from working on Weekend Days and my commuting hubby is home and wants to chill). This doesn't really work for babies or toddlers. Maybe toddlers, but not really :)
Snow Days Can Make You Swift and Decisive
The benefit of snow days is that they can make you act swiftly and decisively. When you have more time, you have more room to waffle about on something. Meander in your mind. There's no time for that on a snow day! You've got a shower to take. Food to make (and eat). Clients to email. Pitch emails to send to a reporter. Sponsors to pitch with an advertising idea. Newsletters to send. Media placements to share.
Be sure to write down all of the "little" things that you did do, because they add up to items that have big impacts! Additionally - when you act swiftly, you stress less. If you were afraid to do something, now is the time to do it, because you won't have the time to wonder if you did it right, did it perfect, etc. Bring it on, Snow Day!!!
Know Your Triggers - Respect Them
Dirty dishes. Dirty laundry on the floor. Toys scattered. PJs on for too long. These are all triggers that confuse my brain and cause it to unravel. I have learned this after years and years, and have gotten into really good shape at cleaning up and picking up fast. Systems help - like with pretty boxes around the house to contain things. With a 6 and 8 year old, I am getting better at asking/telling them to help. When friends come over, I am now - in my friendliest voice possible - telling them the ground rules. This has worked. I have had one little friend tell my son that throwing a baseball in the house is a bad idea, and to switch to another game.
Write It Down
Moments of brilliance may hit you while you're in this unplugged state. Write it down. You can use it later, but keep it. I use plain computer paper, post-its, and Tin Shingle's Content Planner Template. The Content Planner lives on my Google Drive, so I can type in a good article, newsletter theme, or social media post into it and look back to it later.
Have A Snow Day
The kid in you is still alive. Give yourself a break and enjoy the day. You'll be doing this if you're following the step above about playing with your kids and making deposits. Breath in the fresh, crisp, air. Go for a walk. Get some sun (post-snow sunshine is the best). Walk into town if you're able to, and shop a little. Chances are your Main Street is open, because small business owners are fierce and figure it out.
Stick To The Script
When all else fails, stick to the script and look at your list. Your list will be your guide. Your boss. Be gentle and kind to yourself. If there are things you know you cannot do, email people related to them to let them know. Staying ahead of things can solve a lot of problems and strengthen relationships.
Pat Yourself On The Back
Pat yourself on the back. You did great today. Recognizing yourself for what you did do, not what you didn't, will be key to having a successful day.