How do you fare on snow days?
Hours spent inside with the kiddos, while waiting out a storm or blizzard can evoke cabin fever in some parents and caregivers.
“Being at home with your children and taking on the idea that you have to be the entertainer, with no sign of sanity-saving alone time for yourself can cause anxiety,” says Susan Verde, a mom of three, kids yoga instructor, and the author of, I Am Yoga. Worry may also stem from the inevitable and repeated words, “I’m bored.”
Added pressure comes from outfitting yourself and your kids in snow apparel, retrieving sleds, tubes and other snow play items, and anticipating the slushy mess that will inevitably be trekked inside, especially if you have more than one child.
To set a mode of calm before a pending storm, shift your mindset, advises Verde.
While waiting for conditions to ease up, encourage kids to take in nature’s awesome show of beauty. Discuss how snowflakes are formed. Watch and listen as the peace and quiet of winter white cloaks your neighborhood.
“Embrace a snowday as an opportunity, as opposed to a daunting task,” says the author. “Start off by setting an intention. Commit to find the joy and wonder in the day. Tell yourself you’ll try to keep things fun and peaceful. Remember to be forgiving and have compassion for yourself if things don’t go as smoothly as planned or take a different turn.”
Prolonged togetherness with your kids also presents mindful teaching moments.
As the first snowflakes fall, most kids are raring to be a part of the heavenly action. But winds and frigid temperatures aren’t safe to get caught up in. While waiting for conditions to ease up, encourage kids to take in nature’s awesome show of beauty. Discuss how snowflakes are formed. Watch and listen as the peace and quiet of winter white cloaks your neighborhood.
Before romping in the snow outside, ask your kids to pitch in with shoveling and clearing pathways. Doing so helps to ensure your family’s safety from slips and falls. Fun and games await, but tackle the busywork first as a unit.
Set imagination loose. Free to run wild, a child can pretend to be a snow angel or an Eskimo. Join in the fun and build snow animals, forts, and other playful snow creations together.
While warming up inside after a long day of snow fun, remind kids to count their blessings. Not everyone is lucky enough to be safe and cozy indoors. Try practicing a mindful meditation together, says Verde.
“Sit quietly for a moment. Breathe in gratitude for your warmth, your home, and the fun you had earlier,” she says. “Exhale compassion for those who are less fortunate. Send them good energy and wish them well.”
Practice: Snow Day Yoga Sequence
The following poses are excerpted from I Am Yoga, illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds.
Stand tall, with your feet together or slightly apart. Find an equal balance on both feet. Firm your thighs and pull in your belly. Roll your shoulders back and down away from your ears. You can let your arms hang down by your sides, palms facing forward, or lift them straight above your head and bring your palms together. You are a mountain.
Breathe in and out slowly. If you like, close your eyes and imagine you are strong and sturdy, still and calm.
Begin in mountain pose. From your mountain, lift your arms and reach out to either side, like the branches of a tree, to help you balance. Lift one foot, turning your knee out to the side, and place your foot either below the knee of the standing leg or above it. Breathing slowly in and out, bring your arms up over your head and imagine yourself growing like a tree. Slowly lower your hands to your chest, place your foot down, and repeat on the other side.
Downward Dog Pose
Start on your hands and knees, with your toes curled under. Breathe in, and as you breathe out, lift your hips in the air, straightening your legs and pressing your heels toward the floor. Push your palms into the floor, with your fingertips facing forward. Look between your knees. Wag your tail, bark, lift one leg or the other. Be playful!
Half Moon Pose
Start in mountain pose. Bend forward and place your right hand on the ground about a hand’s length away from and slightly to the outside of your right foot. Lift your left leg parallel to the floor. Once you feel balanced, lift your left arm and reach for the sky. Breathe deeply. Look straight ahead or up at your hand. Open your body, imagining you are leaning back against a wall and expanding your chest. Put everything back on the ground and repeat on the other side.