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Amid Challenge Of Learning From Home, Snow Day Offers Kids Important Mental Health Break; 'Sometimes It's Really Okay To Let Go And Have Fun'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- This winter's first snowstorm might have been pretty, but it was also pretty exhausting. There are no snow days when everyone's home anyway.

Work is still scheduled. School is still happening. We can't flake for the flakes, or can we?

CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory looks into the importance of playing hooky every now and then.

The squeals at Oz Park came before anyone hopped on a sled; pure joy brought by the reunion of three best friends.

"It's really fun being all together; and just we're in the snow, and we're outside, so it's safer," said 5th grader Morgan Pape.

Remote learning keeps Morgan and her fellow 5th graders stuck inside, and apart.

Socialization for many students has gone downhill over the past 10 months.

"It's a relief to see our friends, first of all, because we get to Facetime, which is nice, but sometimes you just want to see them in person," 5th grader Cate Morrissey said.

CBS 2 spotted kids of all ages in the snow smack dab during school hours. We had to ask if they were supposed to be e-learning.

"No. We actually have a bunch of breaks," Mirabelle Winkle said.

While we couldn't find any students at Oz Park skipping class, it had us wondering: how bad is it to break the rules to play in the snow during a pandemic?

"I think for mental health, play and relaxation and de-stressing is more important than school," said Lauren Bondy, co-founder of Parenting Perspectives, a Chicago-based parent coaching company.

Bondy, a licensed clinical social worker, wouldn't normally advocate for playing hooky. In fact, we tapped her company, Parenting Perspectives, for tips on how to keep kids academically focused and disciplined when remote learning first began in March 2020.

"Our children are going to pick up on our energy," she said then.

She still believes, that but CBS 2 wanted to know if kids will pick up on adults' hypocrisy when we keep a tight leash on schoolwork then suddenly loosen the reigns.

"I think parents can get out in front of that and say, 'You know what? School is so important, and it's been hard this year, and we've been working really hard to get our work done,'" she said. "'Sometimes we have to break the rules. Sometimes it's really okay to let go and have fun.'"

The importance of work-life balance. Take it from the girls.

"We haven't been outside in a while because we're always doing remote learning," Cate said.

An emotional release and reminder that some of us adults need a break too.

Signs your kid needs a break? Crying, whining and picking fights with siblings.

Bondy suggests taking several breaks throughout a day of remote learning with activities like puzzles and snacktime.
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