Parents’ top tips for when snow disrupts the schedule

21 January, 2019 |

Happy new year! Since it’s January, many cities have already experienced their first serious snow storm of the season, some of which arrived very unexpectedly. Even though you can’t plan when the snow comes, you can give some advance thought to what you will do when it does. Fast Company recently created this Snow Day Survival Guide to help you stay on target work-wise, with valuable advice about planning ahead, creating contingency plans, keeping tabs on emerging weather systems and rescheduling important meetings. But for practical advice, we went straight to Facebook, to ask parents for their best strategies for dealing with snow days–and with inclement weather generally–without driving themselves crazy.

Safety always comes first:

  • “I resign myself to being late or leaving earlier. I’ve had an accident in icy weather so my rule is just go slow. Be late, it’s ok,” says Talia, a Denver, CO mom of two.
  • Another Denver parent, mother of three Rebecca, adds, “People tend to understand when you are late due to snow, and even if they don’t, it’s not worth risking an accident. I drive very slowly and we get there when we get there.”

Gear up and get ready in advance:

  • Hope you hit those post-Christmas sales for extra savings on the snow boots, mittens, scarves, hats and extra socks. Pro-tip? “Always make sure boots and snow pants fit before you need them,” says Jordana, a New Jersey mother of six.
  • Make sure you’ve set aside an area where kids can dump their snowy clothes and shoes when they come in, to minimize melted snow being tracked in all over the house, says Liz, a Boston mom of two.
  • Have extra groceries in case a storm makes supermarket outings impossible–several moms suggested making sure the shopping list includes milk, bread and eggs for french toast; others added chocolate chips, flour and sugar, a set-up for baking cookies later in the day when you’re…

Trapped at home sweet home:

If school is cancelled, or you’re snowed in at home, treat it like an opportunity to spend time with your loved ones.

  • Shovel some snow and make snowballs. Elana Matthews, a Madison, Wisconsin mother of two says she hopes “that my husband DOESN’T use the snow-blower, so that my kids have to shovel and thus get really tired and mellow after.”
  • Make cookies and hot chocolate to help everyone warm up.
  • Always have art supplies around so kids have things to do that don’t have to involve a whole day of screen time.

It takes a village:

  • Form a neighborhood carpool to pinch-hit when snow disrupts the schedule.
  • Are any of your neighbors on a flexible work schedule? Ask them in advance if it’s okay to rely on them in case of a snow emergency, and show them lots of appreciation before or after, because if they agree, they’re still putting off their own work that they have to catch up on later. 
  • “I’m a teacher so if there’s a snow day I’m home, too,” says Jessica. “I’m happy to host playdates. So I’d suggest people make friends with teachers and then dump their kids on them.”

Keep your sense of humor:

  • Understand that as the kids get older, snow day rules are harder to enforce. Dan, a father of three in New York City, said “Put warm winter clothes on the youngest child. Ask the middle child to wear warm winter clothes. Pray the oldest child will deign to wear a coat.”


In short: think ahead, take the opportunity to spend time with your children, and don’t forget to ask for help if you need it!