Lockdowns have a bright side for teens

The study, released in October, found that 56% of 1,523 U.S. high school students surveyed between May and July reported talking to their parents more during quarantine than before. Fifty-four percent said their families have dinner together more often, 46% reported spending more time with siblings, and 68% said their families had become closer during the pandemic.

More surprisingly, the share of teens reporting depression dropped from 27% in 2018 to 17% in the spring of 2020, when remote school was in session, though it edged up to 20% over the summer. What accounts for this counterintuitive result? The IFS study cites two reasons: increased time with family and more sleep.

Time with families buffers kids from depression. They may be sad or in distress, but parents are there to comfort them and help them regulate their emotions and handle conflict. This doesn’t mean coddling, but helping them learn to cope with intense feelings. Parents’ physical and emotional presence promotes emotional security, the foundation of resilience.

More sleep is equally important.