Massively positive impact lockdown has had on families – especially those with teenagers

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Most parents say lockdown has brought them closer to their children, according to a survey conducted by Very.

As restrictions ease, the Very Big Family Life Survey gives a glimpse of how life has changed over the past few months and how families view the “new normal”.

The good news is that two thirds of parents of teenagers say all that time spent together at home has had a positive effect on their family.

And the same applies to almost three quarters of those with kids under 12.

Many families have created perfect memories by doing new activities together, such as playing board games, baking, walking and cycling.

Watching TV and streaming services have also provided family bonding time. Very asked parents to reflect on the past few months as they prepare for their children to return to school full time.

While for some it was stressful, juggling work, home schooling and quality time with the family, others found it fun and inspiring.

Writer Gemma Cheetham lives with husband Mike and their two children, Ava-Violet, six, and Gabriel, one (pictured below).

She says the lockdown has made it feel like things have slowed down. She explained: "For the first few weeks of lockdown I was working from home, and it was a struggle as Gabriel wanted to be with me all the time.

"I’d end up logging on to work early in the morning, stopping at 2pm and starting again in the evening to make up lost hours. Normally, Mike would have taken the kids out, but when the restrictions came in he couldn’t do that.

"Then I got furloughed, and at first I enjoyed home schooling Ava-Violet and doing practical things like planting in the garden and baking banana bread.

"But I started to notice a real difference in her. She just wanted to stay in the house. Even though we reassured her, she’d say things like, ‘I don’t want to go back to school, I want to stay safe and I want my family to stay safe.’

"When her village school reopened, and she was in a small class bubble, she went back to her old self straightaway.

"She was glad to have the routine again, but she still likes having me at home. I feel like life has slowed down and we’ve been able to just appreciate each other’s company more."

Another family feeling the benefit of spending more time together are the Blankstones. Mum Lisa and dad Mark live with daughter Olivia, 16 (pictured below).

Estate agent Lisa told us: "Olivia was due to sit her GCSEs and obviously she was upset when they were cancelled but since then she’s enjoyed being able to just chill out.

"I was furloughed, and Mark has his own optician’s which closed temporarily, so we were all at home.

"Olivia had schoolwork at first, but that eased off so we had lots of free time. We walked every day, exercised at home doing Joe Wicks and David Lloyd sessions.

"Olivia kept in touch with friends via video chats, and although she said a few times she wished she could see them properly, she was fine.

"She was disappointed to have our holiday cancelled, but she’s going to college and she’ll be more than ready to have some normality back again by September.

"We all get on well, so the biggest challenge for us was not being able to see other members of the family.

"Because he runs his own business, Mark said he’s never spent so much time with Olivia and he’s loved that. When you’re busy you feel like you’re always chasing your tail, but lockdown meant we all had more time."

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