Dr Amanda Gummer says the lockdown has provided a unique opportunity to reconnect, create memories and evaluate priorities.
For some families being able to spend more quality time together could be an unexpected upside of lockdown.
Psychologist and founder of GoodPlayGuide.com Amanda Gummer, who has worked with children and families for over 20 years, explains why.
Never before, in modern history, have so many parents spent so much time in one place with their children.
Whilst this is not always a good thing, for some families, the coronavirus lockdown has provided a unique opportunity to reconnect, create memories and evaluate priorities.
New babies and young children whose parents are now working from home, or have been furloughed, will benefit enormously from having both parents available during so many months of their formative years.
Both parents being at home will also have reduced the isolation felt by many new mothers and made it easier for fathers to be an equal carer – boosting fathers’ confidence in their own parenting and allowing them to really get to know their children’s day-to-day routines.
This is normally incredibly hard for fathers to achieve, as in regular times they often have to return to work Monday to Friday after just two weeks of paternity leave.
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The long-term impact this will have is yet to be seen, and may not be positive for all families.
But benefits will range from parents being more supportive of each other, children feeling more secure with both parents and the family unit being strengthened.
At the other end of the age range, there are young adults who have either returned from university or who, like my eldest, are hoping to go in September.
For many, lockdown will have forced a readjustment of these young people’s relationship with their parents and an analysis of their role within the family.
Parents have been able to help young people learn valuable life skills as they take on responsibilities around the house, whilst their parents continue to work.
I know many of my friends with newly returned students feel like they are getting bonus family time with their now adult offspring.
The lockdown will also have increased family connections within the wider family too.
Many grandparents have become more adept at screen-based communication and so are now keeping more in touch with their often distant families than they did before.
Some are providing virtual childcare, reading their young grandchildren stories over the internet or playing games whilst parents work from home.
For these families, there’s no reason to think that this communication will suddenly end when lockdown is eased – the increased ease of communication will hopefully lead to less social isolation of the elderly and closer intergenerational bonds.
The simple pleasures in life are being rediscovered too – a family walk has become a precious time of the day that everyone looks forward to, something many families may never have enjoyed before.
Families are rediscovering board games, doing puzzles together and making fun TikTok videos.
These are all things that would not have happened in the usual hustle and bustle of pre-lockdown life.
The family that plays together stays together, as the saying goes, and finding fun ways to pass the time has created memories that will be treasured in years to come.
Recognition of the benefit of families playing together, especially during challenging times is the motivation behind the Play At Home Fest that is running over the late May Bank Holiday weekend.
The confidence, trust and attachment that results from families playing together is hopefully one of the positive legacies of this period of lockdown.