For most parents, a snow day may result in only minor inconveniences – having to take off work unexpectedly or finding emergency childcare. Others seize the opportunity to sleep in and enjoy breakfast with their children. The kids, of course, delight in having a school-free day spent playing games, watching TV, sledding, engaging in snowball fights, building snowmen – and drinking hot chocolate! For children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their parents, however, a snow day represents break in routine, and can bring about undue levels of stress and anxiety.
With cold winter months and forecasts of snowfall upon most of the Northeast and elsewhere, The Linden Grove School in Cincinnati, OH, offers valuable advance planning tips and strategies for helping families and children minimize the potential angst associated with a snow day, transforming it instead into enjoyable family fun time.
Talk about the possibility of a snow day before it happens
Explain that the snow can make it difficult for students and teachers to get to school (using pictures if necessary)
Discuss the fun activities that can be done instead of going to school
Prepare a snow day “stay at home” box
Fill the box with movies, books, games or other items available only when your child must stay at home
Go outside and play in the snow
Make a snowman, snowballs or snow angels
Sledding can help with balance and coordination
Bring the snow inside
Fill a large plastic container with snow and bring it inside; children can use sand toys, plastic trucks or animals to enjoy the snow before it melts.
Although a change in routine can be unsettling, with care and thoughtful planning, the only thing going downhill should be your child’s sled.
Source: Linden Grove School