As families are hunkered down at home together, the only thing many are not finding endless is their square footage. With kids going to school online and parents working from home, we’re navigating more than our emotions these days—we’re jockeying for physical space. Parenting Center Director Sally Tannen offers some thoughts on how to make sure everyone gets some of what they need in this time of giving up so much. Here's what she has to say:
It's important that everyone in your household has a space to call their own, at least some of the time. It’s easy for us to get on each other‘s nerves when we’re living on top of each other day after day. I’m a great believer in the value of a schedule. Make sure yours doesn’t only include all the things that need to get done, but quiet time, or "me” time, for each member of the family.
We think in terms of “finding space” for a certain activity, but in fact, we’re not finding it, we’re creating it. Look around your home or apartment and create some special spaces. Many children share a room with a sibling, so creating a little sub-space within that shared space can be extremely meaningful to a child.
For young children, there’s nothing more fun than a tent they can call their own. Arrange two chairs and a sheet, and you’ve created an entirely new space. Tuck a few pillows and a flashlight in, and it can be a cozy place where they bring their favorite toys, or look at a picture book, or where mom or dad can read to them (if they’re allowed in!). You can even help little ones come up with rules they can post on the door about who can come in during certain times and who can't. This gives children some control at a time when they have virtually none.
Adults are feeling that loss of control too. Sometimes something as simple as a pair of headphones or an unhurried shower can help create the feeling of a special space. Look around, get creative and help every member of your family have a space of their own for at least a little time every day—it’s renewing for everyone, and will make the time together all the sweeter.