Skip to main content

Winter weather: Here's how to stay sane with stir-crazy kids at home

By Faith Karimi, CNN
February 12, 2014 -- Updated 0953 GMT (1753 HKT)
  • Have coffee handy - lots of it
  • There's always the TV
  • Hope that the power doesn't go out
  • Send them to a childless friend

What are you doing to stay sane in the storm? Send your stories and tips to iReport.

Atlanta (CNN) -- The dire warnings have been heeded. The pantries stocked. The cars parked.

For Atlanta parents waiting out the impending ice storm at home, it's not so much about staying safe as it's about staying sane.

When Georgia announced storm preparations, schools closed -- sending thousands of kids home for an unexpected mini-vacation.

And now parents across the metro area have something new to worry about: how on earth are they going to keep their kids from going stir crazy -- and driving them up the wall?

Gov. Deal: Not the end of the world

Those trips to the craft stores? Done. Baking treats? Done. And the storm hasn't even hit!

Why ice is so much worse than snow

"Everyone's nerves are on edge," said Mary Koronkowski, a resident in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta.

We reached out to a few parents to get some tips and pointers on how to stay sane. Turns out, there's hope for you.

Under any other circumstances, some of these tips would be frowned upon. But hey, desperate times call for desperate measures!

1. Caffeinate yourself

Coffee makes you chipper even on the darkest days. And believe us, a blackout and a room full of anxious kids definitely calls for high energy.

So, have a pot full pot of coffee handy at all times. Save some in a thermos flask in case there's a blackout.

"(I'm) making coffee tonight and putting it in thermos so if we don't have power in the morning I don't eat my young," said mom Paige DeMent.

2. Park the minions in front of the TV

Thank goodness for small mercies: The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

"We don't count Olympics as screen time," rationalized Josh Levs, a CNN journalist, on paternity leave.

Why not put power lines underground?

He has company. All those rules about limiting TV don't apply during inclement weather, they joked.

Julie Rodgers Smith is a mother of two little ones.

"We are watching the Olympics for as long as we have power," she said.

3. Hope that the power stays on

Like all good moms, Guinevere Patrick is ready for the storm.

"Both iPhones are charged

the iPad and the Kindle

the computer of course

until the power dwindles"

And when it does? Uh oh ... don't even go there!

"Just broke the news to 13-year-old that if we lose power, we lose Wi-Fi for his tablet - the HORROR!," tweeted Kathy Schmidt.

4. Shame the kids into behaving

Kids are savvy. If nothing works, threaten to take your case to the web. Your threat options are plenty: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook. If your children are over a certain age, the horrifying thought of social media infamy will send them into a quiet corner.

"All three kids rankling each other and working themselves into a frenzy," Koronkowski said Tuesday night, describing the scene at her house. "I have threatened to post a video of the heathens if they don't knock it off."

Parents are finding comfort in collective empathy online

"We are all in the same boat," Lisa Laczko said. "It's crucial for our sanity."

(Warning: this has the potential to backfire on you. For some, 15 minutes of fame translates to a ticket to Coolville.)

5. Send them to your childless friends

Surely, you have a friend like Kelly Holton. She doesn't have children and her office is closed.

"I'm not sure my extroverted soul can survive another week of being trapped at home by the weather," she said. "I live alone so my problem is too much peace and quiet.

"I'd gladly borrow someone's kid for a day just to break up the monotony."

Any takers?

CNN's Alanne Orjoux, Mike Pearson, Tori Blase, Dorrine Mendoza and Ed Payne contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
Weathering the storm
February 14, 2014 -- Updated 0309 GMT (1109 HKT)
To understand how human nature sometimes doesn't heed winter weather warnings, listen to how Deanna Hunt didn't listen.
February 12, 2014 -- Updated 1211 GMT (2011 HKT)
A foot of snow may look big and bad, but it's a bunch of fluff compared to a solid inch of ice.
September 8, 2014 -- Updated 1624 GMT (0024 HKT)
Residents who have been stranded on icy interstates and at strangers' homes during a winter storm share their stories.
January 29, 2014 -- Updated 1254 GMT (2054 HKT)
Snow can be a delight -- but only when you're admiring it standing next to your cozy living room fireplace.
February 12, 2014 -- Updated 1826 GMT (0226 HKT)
The majestic trees that line streets across the American South are a beautiful sight most of the year.
February 13, 2014 -- Updated 1231 GMT (2031 HKT)
As winter storms continue to pound the United States, customers inevitably ask why doesn't somebody do something about this?
January 7, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
Patience and common sense will serve you well.
January 3, 2014 -- Updated 1817 GMT (0217 HKT)
Power outages can pose safety challenges for medication and food.
can opener
All you need to know about keeping your food safe to eat and what to have on hand in the event of a weather emergency.
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 2222 GMT (0622 HKT)
Schools are proposing a new virtual solution to snow days.
February 11, 2014 -- Updated 1444 GMT (2244 HKT)
The horror stories have been stacking up all winter: Students trapped inside school buses, or nestling in for a surprise slumber party in the school gym.
February 12, 2014 -- Updated 0953 GMT (1753 HKT)
The dire warnings have been heeded. The pantries stocked. The cars parked.
February 11, 2013 -- Updated 1541 GMT (2341 HKT)
Mobile devices have changed how we handle severe weather.
January 29, 2014 -- Updated 1737 GMT (0137 HKT)
Smartphones are not built for the extreme cold.
February 9, 2013 -- Updated 1057 GMT (1857 HKT)
In our increasingly digital world, a mobile phone or other portable device is often a one-stop communication device.
January 31, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
Ever wonder about the tiny flakes that make up a blanket of snow?