Our Youth Advisory Committee members have been chatting online together about their experiences being stuck at home and answering some questions. Check them out below to get the “teen perspective” on the stay at home orders. More questions and answers will be added weekly!

What do you wish parents understood better about what it’s like to be a teen going through this period of social distancing?
Learning at home is a completely different experience and environment than at school, which in turn can make it much more difficult to keep up. This coupled with not seeing your friends or even going out creates a very stressful situation to be in.
Students are also struggling due to COVID-19 and we do miss our friends. Our sleep schedules are becoming irregular daily, seniors won’t have a regular graduation, no spring sports, no prom, no senior trip, etc.
The rules that you may have had in your home regarding your teens should possibly be relaxed or revised. For example, screen time limits should probably be extended. This is one way we can continue to “socialize” with our friends.
I wish parents better understood the shock of going from seeing friends everyday at school to not at all. I would encourage parents to allow their teens to video chat with friends and make sure they’re staying in touch with other kids. It might not seem like much, but it goes a long way.
We are using our phones to connect with our friends, so maybe parents should consider punishments other than electronic removal.
What helpful advice would you give parents right now?
Chill out because no one has ever been through this before.
Be patient and give support to your children.
I think parents can use this time to bring the family closer together. Planning a game night or a movie night ahead of time is something I would recommend because without notice the family tends to go their own ways. But also be sure to have some nights for individual time.
Children like to stay inside on the TV.  A way to encourage exercise would be to play a movie while working out.
Set incentives and goals for your family and teens. This is one way to work together toward a positive result.
What personal silver linings are you seeing as a result of the corona crisis? How has your life changed in a good way?
I get more time outside and to myself.
With all the free time, being independent and managing my own schedule have emerged as good skills to have. I’ve noticed that balancing work and free time is something that has changed for the better, now that I can mostly go on my own schedule.
Families are able to spend time with one another and are stress free. I have taught myself more self-discipline, especially when it comes to classes and being productive. Because of the corona crisis, we now can value and cherish the moments we spend with our friends and family. We don’t know when the next opportunity will come, let alone if it will come at all. Everyone can now appreciate every moment we have with our loved ones. My life has changed for the better where I am consistent with working out in ways that don’t injure me. I am less stressed and I have free time to read and enjoy time with my dogs.
I get to spend more time with my family and go outside more.
My silver lining during the corona crisis is my personal time. Usually, I have no time to “self-improve.” I have used this time to strengthen my skills in basketball and football.
More time to spend with family.
It’s been great to be able to spend a lot of time with my family before going off to college next year (hopefully). Also I’ve had time to get in better shape, and learn some new skills like the piano and cooking.
The corona virus has helped me with my sleep schedule. Usually, school and extra activities cause me to have a bad sleep schedule. Now, I am getting enough sleep for my brain and body and feel better mentally because of it.
With everyone home together, how can teens help younger siblings adapt? What have you been doing with your siblings?
Playing outside and watching tv together.
Having a sibling is the closest person around your age that is actually allowed to be with you, so it is a good idea to make the most of a stale situation. For me personally, I’ve been playing Mario Kart and ping pong with my brother to pass the time.
This is the time to play board games or video games with the family. Have a movie night or put on a show. With those who live farther away, Zoom/FaceTime/Skype them.
Our family has been doing a board game challenge where we play a different game everyday and get points for each win. At the end of the quarantine, the winner does not have to do any chores for a week.
We have just been spending quality time together. This includes playing games and different sports together.
Watching movies, playing games, exercising.
I think teens can help younger siblings adapt by including them in healthy activities and providing them with some ideas of how to keep busy. For example, my sister and I have been going on bike rides and hikes to try to stay active. We’ve also been watching a lot of movies together.