What Is Your Family Doing with Your Time?

The weekend was fun and relaxing, despite the circumstances that brought your family of four home.

If this would have been a typical Saturday night in March your younger daughter likely would have been out with her friends in Louisiana, celebrating the warm weather with her college friends. For her part, your older daughter had planned to spend this weekend after St. Patrick’s Day a couple of hours south spending some much needed time away from studying at nursing school while enjoying a weekend of outdoor baseball games. As it turned out, however, like many Americans, the girls’ plans for this and many weekends in the foreseeable future have come to an abrupt halt. With the threat of the Coronavirus, your daughters, you, and your husband are taking the threat seriously and sheltering in place. Earlier in the week you pulled a rather detailed 500 piece puzzle down from a closet shelf as a way to keep you mind distracted and your fingers busy.

In just two short days, however, you and your husband made quick work of that 500 piece puzzle. In its place you set out two different 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles that you recently ordered and were delivered. When first your younger daughter from down south came home, the big jigsaw puzzles provided a way to have easier conversations about the anxiety of having to move out of her dorm suddenly and finish her college courses online. When your older daughter drove home this morning from her downtown apartment, all four of you gathered around the dining room table, worked on the puzzle, and shared concerns and hopes for what these next few days, weeks, or months might bring.

Family Games and Hard Puzzles Are a Great Way to Share Weekends Together
Whether you are a fan of smaller and less challenging 500 piece puzzles or your family likes the challenge of difficult 2000 piece jigsaw puzzles, there are many times when having a puzzle out in a central location is your home is a great idea. Often a part of Christmas family gatherings, in fact, there are many times when an easier 500 piece puzzle can serve as a great way for family members of many ages to spend time together.

In times of joy and in times of stress, it can be a great idea to have an activity like a puzzle to keep both your mind and your fingers busy. Did you know, for instance, that the neurotransmitter, dopamine, is produced when doing puzzles? And while the very first known puzzle was a dissection of a square mentioned by Archimedes around 250 BC, today this popular pastime has almost no limit for the kind of pictures that you can create.

In these challenging times when so many parents find themselves not only working from home themselves, but also supervising the home schooling of their children, a centrally located family puzzle may be the perfect solution. Trying to find a way to keep children and teens alike off their screens all day may be a challenge when many schools are completing their semesters online, a puzzle is the perfect kind of distraction. Allowing conversations while family members talk about the successes and challenges of the day is a great way to spend an evening or an entire weekend. And in a time with so much uncertainty, it is important that you create safe and welcoming spaces for your children to share their concerns and break out in laughter that is so good for the soul.

The latest research indicates that puzzles activate brains while relaxing people psychologically, basically putting brains into a meditative state. This might be exactly what is needed in these most challenging of times. As parents who are transitioning into home schooling settings, it is important to make sure that the best practices are used. For instance, traditional classroom teachers know that movement gets the brain going. In fact, an active body makes for an active brain, so making learning a hands-on affair, like using educational puzzles, is real advantage. Getting your house set for these next few days or weeks can help parents and children of all age.

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