Two young teens outside near a brook in the winter with snow.

Snow Days Don’t Have to Mean Endless Time in Front of Screens

by Screen Time Team on 29/01/2020

There’s nothing kids love more than a snow day. Parents, however, are worried that the day might be spent in front of screens. And while there’s nothing wrong with an episode or two, there’s no reason to give up a perfectly good day off to screens.

Plan Ahead

The best way to deal with snow days is to have a plan in place before they arrive. Keeping a good stock of books, board games, crafting projects, and other non-screen entertainment will limit complaints and make kids more likely to do more than play video games all day. You should also set expectations before the snow flies, so that kids don’t imagine they’ll be goofing off on the computer all day.

It’s also important to discuss the rules around telecommuting or coming with you to the office. They need to understand that just because they have a snow day, you may not, and they need to understand the compromises that come with that.

Stick To The Rules, Mostly

There’s nothing wrong with loosening the rules a little bit during a snow day, like two episodes of TV instead of one. But that said, the rules shouldn’t go totally out the window, no matter how much you have to do even if they have a day off. Make it clear that while they can have a little more screen time, if you think it’s OK, it should be treated like a typical day otherwise.

Setting up parental controls and installing third-party parental control apps will also help, as kids will be able to stay focused on the rules, not the screen.

Catch Up

Treat snow days as a good way to teach children about thinking ahead. Have them look over their syllabi and required reading, and look for opportunities to catch up or to do some work before the assignment due date arrives. If they get their reports done, their worksheets completed, and so on, they’ll be a lot happier in the long term. This is especially effective if you’ve got a “no screens before homework” rule, as if they want to play on screens, they can earn some time by getting future homework.

Two young teens walking down the sidewalk wearing winter clothes.

Set Up Playdates

Remember, you’re not the only one figuring out what to do with the kids. Contact other parents and ask them if they’d like to do a snow day date, or if you can host one, so families can socialize together, play board games, work on homework together, craft, or anything else that they enjoy as a group activity.

Go Outdoors

Time in the snow can be a lot of fun, and help kids get the exercise they might miss otherwise. If you know winter may be tough, set up a parent’s group to oversee kids as they play in parks, another parent’s backyard, or a place they’ll have fun, be safe, and get a little sunshine.

Snow days don’t have to be frustrating for parents. With a little planning, some good ideas, and help from other parents, you can make every snow day a screen-free day. To learn more about how third-party parental control apps can help, try it for free!

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