Is there a pair of words that bring more joy to a child?
It’s a new tradition in our house that for the first snow day of the year, I stay home too. The kids may think it’s because Tina and I want to spend the day with them (and there is some truth to that). But really, it’s because a snow day is the perfect opportunity to organize and clean the house together as a team.
Why? Well for one thing, a snow day means leaving the house isn’t happening. If the buses can’t get to the house to take Jackson to Pre-K, we tell him our car isn’t able to leave, either. So we’re trapped here.
Now, we don’t wake the kids and immediately tell them to start cleaning the house. No, that would be a bit cruel, and it’s a bad strategy. We wait until about 10 a.m., when one of them (Jackson, most likely) will invariably say, “I’m bored.” That’s when Tina and I pounce.
“Well, if you’re bored, we can find some things for you to help us do.”
- Cleaning the bed sheets, bed skirts, pillowcases and covers. Washing sheets and other bed linens aren’t like the normal laundry (Trust me, I do my share. You can even ask Tina.) Washing the bed means completely unmaking it, running linens through the washer and dryer, and then remaking the bed. It’s a project that requires a bigger chunk of the day. Tina and I making a bed together goes a lot faster than doing it alone. Plus, the kids love tearing the sheets off the bed (and jumping on it), and we can trust them (a little) with a simple job like putting the pillowcases on.
- Cleaning the bathrooms. I know, ugh. It’s not my favorite job in the world. But when I know I have a whole snow day to do it, I know Tina and I can do it right. I do the master bath, and she does the kids’. We make it a competition to see who can clean better, faster. I have the kids help her, so I always win. Plus, my secret weapon is that I’ll clean the shower curtain, vacuum the rugs and organize under the cabinets. Tina’s impressed by such unexpected, proactive out-of-the-box cleaning.
- Getting rid of toys. The kids outgrow toys quickly, so we use a snow day to covertly pack them up and ready them to be donated. But a few other toys we’ll pack away to open again in six months, so to the kids it feels like something new.
4. These one-day projects can be made even more fun with a little music (Tina and I develop alternating one-hour playlists), and we take a break to make some cookies (there’s always time for cookies, and no one makes them better than Tina!).
So the next time a winter weather advisory comes, think about taking a snow day for yourself and your home.