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School's closed: How do you juggle work and family?

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Reed and Brennan Schumann play a card game during a day off from school.
Reed and Brennan Schumann play Kings in the Corners as they enjoy a day off from school on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, following a snow storm in St. Paul.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News

Updated: Jan. 31 | Posted: Jan. 29

Many schools across the state closed Monday after several inches of snow fell on Minnesota. Several more schools announced they'd also be closing Tuesday and Wednesday in the face of a dangerously cold forecast.

The debate over those closures is heated, but the preemptive closings give parents a little more time to plan the day for their kids. What does that look like in your household? How do you fill these unexpected days off? Do you plan activities? Are you trying to telecommute or balance other things as well? Let us know here or join the conversation on our Raising Kids in Minnesota Facebook Group and we will add your strategy to this story!

Here's what some Minnesota parents had to say:

Getting crafty

"Trying to not indulge in too much screen time. We are planning to cook, make origami, clean rooms, do jigsaw puzzles and play board games, as well as read and practice math. Being a bit bored is fine too!" — Eva Lee

Take learning into your own hands

"I would be totally fine with schools sending assignments home for this snow days — reading or math or something that can be done online for the older kids who have computers/iPads and can access school work." — Jenni Wasserman Friedman.

"Shakopee schools are trying out CoLD learning, which is a plan for connected learning days. Kids got a table with a column for each subject, and four activities under each, different for each grade, handed out at the beginning of the year. So when my 4th grader knew she'd have off Tuesday and Wednesday, she knew to pull out her chart and work on some tasks. Only took her about an hour to get through it, but it's meant to keep them stimulated, thinking, and perhaps not needing to make up too many missed school days at the end of the year. Her teacher posted some reminders and her availability, and these are things my daughter could do even if we did have to send her to all day YMCA care, though these days it worked out for me to work from home." — Elizabeth Unze

Stay active

Note: Extended outdoor fun is more for your typical snow day, not days with dangerously low temps expected this week.

"My three youngest are all busy playing boot hockey out on the patio right now [Monday] and moving snow around trying to make enough of a mound to get their sleds to work. I'm lucky I can work from home but — especially after three no school days last week — I would have preferred to be able to make it into the office." — Aaron Mratin

"We have 3 kids: 13, 10 and 6. My husband has been able to manage the kids, so I have been fortunate to not have to miss work so far. They got to sleep in, had some free play time, walked the dogs, did some chores. My husband squeezed in some work from home. He also took the older two to a long swim practice while the 6-year-old had some screen time on an iPad in his office. The youngest will go to an all-day gymnastics camp at Kenwood gymnastics today and the older two will have another long swim practice this afternoon." — Anonymous

When you can't take work off

"I'm trying to telecommute but it's hard to keep them out of the office I work out of. I'm torn and wish I could just spend the time staying warm and making memories with them. I feel grateful to have a supportive supervisor who approved my work from home. Others don't have this and are making really tough choices. My sister who is a single mom of three teen boys drove to work this morning at -28." — Jackie Blagsvedt

"Daycare closed, so my husband and I both worked from home. I cared for our 3-year-old from 6 a.m. to noon and my husband took over from noon to 5 p.m. Our son only got an hour of TV today total, so I consider that a big success! We played lots of imagination games, cooked a bit, chased each other around the house." — Stefanie Bell-Egge

On the topic of drop-in daycare where you work:

"This sounds like a great benefit on paper, but in practicality, most kids don't do well being dropped off at an unfamiliar place with teachers they don't know (especially daycare aged kids). This is a great benefit if the employer considers back up daycare an option, not a mandate. For me, flexibility to work from home and culture that covers for one another is a much better benefit." — Jenny Makarov

"What would really help me is a service that sends a caretaker to your house for a fee if your kid is sick and can't go to child care or school but you have something, too. I know there are businesses that provide this and others that provide it to their employees. I get that in an ideal world all of us could drop everything for our kids last minute, but my partner travels out of the country for work often and I work full time so that's not always realistic. Drop-in daycare would be nice, and my kids would do fine in that situation, but there are rarely times that I would need that because their usual child care is consistently open." — Annie Andresi

"My employer has this (both center-based and in-home) and it's a wonderful benefit that comes in handy even when a stay at home parent is sick or has an appointment." — Kenna Poppler

Value the time together

"I treasure 'snow days!' I loved them as a kid and even more now as a mom. Work, appointments and whatnot can wait. Enjoying extra unexpected time with my kids is a blessing." — Theresa Morey

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