Kids Love a Snow Day… But What Should You Do If You’re a Working Parent?

snow day

I’m from one of the snowiest parts of the entire country: Central New York. With all the snow we got while I was growing up, you’d also think we had a lot of snow days.

It was quite the opposite, though; we were so equipped for snow, school rarely closed. When it did, it was a cause for massive celebrations… for the kids, at least.

For the working parents, it was another story. Their workplaces weren’t closed — what were they supposed to do with us rambunctious youngsters?

With the massive blizzard that’s about to hit the East coast, you might be feeling the same way.

If so, you’ll appreciate the working parent’s snow day survival guide, written by Laura Vanderkam for Fast Company.

3 Ways to Conquer That Snow Day

“The good news is that snow days fall into the category of what Donald Rumsfeld called ‘known unknowns,’” Vanderkam writes.

“You don’t know when they’ll happen, or how often, but if you live in a snowy climate, they’re inevitable. So you can plan for them.”

She offers nine ideas for snow day domination. Here are our favorites:

Open Up the Conversation at Work

More than likely, other parents at your workplace face the same issue — so start talking about solutions ASAP.  

“Figure out whose jobs can be done remotely, and what equipment these people will need,” she writes. “If people must work in the office at certain times, figure out how shifts can be swapped.”

Check the Forecast

You’ll often know about snowstorms a few days ahead of time. So do your best to prioritize your work based on the forecast; move important meetings and tasks to before or after the storm.

“Even if you can’t shift work, knowing what’s coming gives you a few days to create contingency plans,” she writes.

Create a Snow Day Co-Op

If you’re like many people, and don’t have the flexibility to work remotely or switch your schedule around, then try finding nearby families in similar situations.

“Each family takes the others’ kids in turn,” Vanderkam explains. “Three families means that each family only has to cover a third of the snow days, and if you split with your co-parent, that means you’re responsible for just one out of every six.”

Snow days comprise some of my favorite childhood memories.

Though they’re undoubtedly more stressful as a working parent, planning ahead means you might be able to enjoy them a little bit, too.

To read the rest of Vanderkam’s article, head over to Fast Company.

Your Turn: What’s your snow day strategy?

Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.

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