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Sarah Smiley of Bangor is the author of “Got Here As Soon As I Could” and “Dinner With The Smileys.”

When we moved to the Northeast 12 years ago, people’s concern for us was specific: How will they handle the winters? After our first year in Maine, however, my concern for people everywhere else we had lived — California, Florida, Virginia — was equally specific: How do they exist without the promise of snow days?

Sure, it snowed occasionally in Virginia, but in California and Florida, the only time our family had an unexpected day off was in the aftermath of a natural disaster. It’s not a true “family day” if your roof has been blown off and you have no air conditioning in Florida in August.

Snow days, it turns out, are the best part of winter. They are the north’s best kept secret, a perk for adults, children — families. They are Christmas morning, Thanksgiving and the first day of summer rolled into one. Even when snow days delay the start of summer by a day or two, nothing compares to going to bed to the sound of snow plows and dreaming of an early-morning call from the school department. And when the call does come, the house is alive at 5 a.m. with the promise of pancakes, board games and sledding with friends.

Snow days are some of our kids’ best childhood memories. As a mother, they are some of my fondest memories, too. So I was concerned when school departments began announcing plans to eliminate snow days now that everyone has figured out remote learning (thanks, COVID).

But I’m not concerned just for sentimentality’s sake. I’m also concerned about the message we are sending our children. Ever since I got my first email address and, later, a smartphone, my work life has seeped into my home life. Beginning around 2009, I was suddenly available not just during work hours, but also while making dinner or watching a movie before bed. For adults, the phones in our back pockets have allowed constant work intrusion, a disruption to the work-life balance.

And in recent years, mental health experts have begun warning against it. Getting your “life in balance” never had more application than after electronics allowed our work life into our home life.

So why are we starting kids on this path in kindergarten? Why have we decided to tell them that just because the school is closed and the roads are impassable it doesn’t mean you can’t continue to burn the midnight oil?

Our children have a whole lifetime ahead of them wrestling with work-life balance. They have a lifetime of being pinged at dinner or feeling obligated to check email before bed. Shouldn’t we begin teaching them now that sometimes work — and school — can wait? Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. And there is nothing wrong with taking a day off for family.

We’re on the tip of a slippery slope now that remote learning has entered our lives. We adults have lived with the crushing reality of work-from-home life since the early 2000s. Let’s allow our kids to escape it while they can, and maybe, through our example, teach them to lead more balanced lives as adults in the future.

Instead of telling our children that one missed day of school is a waste, let’s tell them that snow days are an important reminder to slow down, relax, and connect with family. In a pandemic era, we need those reminders — those snow days — more than ever.