The Big Question: What will my family learn–and remember–from 2021?

The past year wasn’t perfect, but we’re getting closer to something that seems halfway familiar. Here’s a look at how families navigated the special challenges of 2021.

By Rachel Buchholz, National Geographic

Family life in 2021 wasn’t exactly back to normal. But compared to 2020? We’ll take it. And though families faced multitudes of new challenges, they tackled them with the same resiliency and perseverance they’ve had throughout the pandemic.

As many adults started the year with news that COVID-19 vaccinations would soon be available, families adapted to the challenges this presented. Kids hugged their vaxxed grandparents—but only while wearing masks. Children had playdates—but only with other kids whose parents were also vaccinated. And though the day was coming when most children could get their own shot, that event would bring its own set of issues to overcome. What if the thought of yet another needle prick terrified your child? What if kids unable to be vaxxed were worried about spreading COVID-19—or catching it?

“Modeling calm responses and having open conversations about what’s happening … can be really helpful,” says Rutgers University’s Vanessa LoBue, associate professor of psychology.

The world opened back up for kids once vaccines were authorized for them, especially during the summer. Kids even looked forward to going back to school in person. Read more ...