If there’s one thing we hear often during this time of social distancing, it’s that we’re all in this together. And nowhere is that truer than within our homes — where families are spending more time with each other working, learning, eating, and connecting to the outside world without leaving the house. For many people, it’s becoming a bit of a blur. Is it Monday? Thursday? What even IS a weekend anymore?
Making a clear transition from work and learning during the day to fun and family time in the evening is critical, especially now, when commutes home and after-school activities don’t provide a natural end to our busy days.
“Giving kids both structure and opportunities for play is vital during this time,” says Laura Phillips, a clinical neuropsychologist at the Child Mind Institute in New York City.
That means making an effort to carve out time for everyone to come together, wind down, switch off, and do something away from the screens that make working from home, distance learning, and entertainment possible during the day. “In fact, you actually need to intentionally spend time as a family unit in a fun, meaningful way,” says Denise Pope, a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, who specializes in child development. “We know from years of research that kids need this — and now more than ever.”