Under normal circumstances, teenagers spend little time with their families. They are busy with school, sports, extracurriculars, and friends, trying to find their own way in the world. However, now they are stuck at home with nothing but family time. Game nights, bike rides, and cooking with the whole family have become the norm.
Most say it’s not that bad. Some are even grateful for this time.
“I used to take for granted the time I’ve spent with my family,” said senior Megan Zeilinger, “because I was so focused on what my friends are doing, what my plans are for the weekend, school, sports. Now that I don’t have that, I’ve taken a step back and realized I can use this opportunity to spend time with them.”
Sophomore Emmett Athearn said he has been clamming with his father and made a feast of steamers and linguine for Easter dinner. “I’ve been helping out with the animals more,” he added. “We got some tomato plants, and I built a cold frame for the plants out of scrap wood I found in the yard.”
Other students are working in the family business. Katie Freeman, a sophomore, whose family runs Reliable Market, has been taking extra shifts at the grocery store to give employees, who are working longer hours, a break.
Spanish teacher Erin Slossberg sees students learning all the time at school. Now with this time at home she is able to observe her third-grade daughter Lulu’s learning.
“It’s an absolute gift to see what she can do academically, which I never really experienced before,” she said. “It’s fun to see how she sets up a document to hand in to her teacher and how she’s careful with titling things.”
Being at home together has also impacted their movie nights. After Lulu read a book on Jane Goodall, the family gathered to watch a movie about Goodall’s life.
Although many students said they have been getting along well with their families, siblings included, some worry it won’t last.
“We’re just going to hit a plateau where we’re like, okay, we’re tired of each other,” said Emmett Athearn.
But for now, teenagers are realizing they actually like their families.
Katie and her family have been trying to spread some of this positivity. “We’ve been going on walks and we love to collect rocks and paint them and put them on beaches and trails for people to find,” she said. “They have inspirational messages on them.”
The messages say things like stay positive, there is hope, and you are amazing.
“It’s kind of corny, but I feel like people need it now,” she said.