It has been a long cold winter so far, and we haven’t even hit March yet. I see more and more comments from parents lately begging for no more cancellations! I have experienced more than one of these types of winters over the course of 31 years of raising kids. Being cooped up and out of your routine can add a lot of stress and grouchiness to everyone.
I do have a few suggestions for you. First, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! Just because school is cancelled doesn’t mean you have to stay in. Go outside and play in the snow! Hopefully you remember how to do that. There are a lot of kids who have never been sled riding or built a snowman. Better yet, get them to shovel the sidewalk. Better yet, give them a shovel and have them generously shovel the neighbor’s sidewalk!
Second, take them to the library or just give them a book to read. Not required reading for a class, but reading for fun. Many kids don’t do that. I know of one person who has never read a book that wasn’t required! I used to fight with “Pook” all the time about reading, but I never gave up. My kids think I am crazy, but you already know that, for reading novels on vacation.
Third, give them some chores to do. If you want to keep them from being under foot, give them a few jobs. Kids need to do things like that to learn a sense of accomplishment and pride in a job well done. They need to learn that they were not put on this earth to be entertained. Have them dust and vacuum their room, clean a bathroom, fold some laundry, mop a floor. Believe me, it won’t kill them and it will be a help to you. Follow through and make sure they did the job too.
Do something with them. Have them help you prepare dinner, or bake some cookies! If you treat them like pests, you damage their self esteem. Everyone wants to be loved. If your own parents find you unlovable simply because you are around, what message does that send? It does take a little extra effort on your part when the kids are home, but it can be priceless.
Whatever you do, don’t let them “veg” in front of the television or their video games. I will always advocate that those things should be used as rewards and video games, if you even allow them in your home should be severely limited. I have seen more kids get lost in their video games. My own have trouble being appropriately social when they have played too long. They are combative and forget that we are not characters in the game.
Most of all, even though this year the time out of school has been excessive, enjoy your kids. Trust me, time flies. My babies have babies and occasionally I find myself wishing I could go back in time, just for a little to recapture some time. Have a great day. Smile, because your kids love you!
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