(CNN)Like most parents, Seagal Hagege, a mom of three in Irvine, California, wasn't exactly looking forward to sheltering in place.
Why some kids are happier right now, and other unexpected effects of quarantine
Together all day? In one house? How would the kids respond?
Much better than she could have ever imagined, it turns out. Over the course of the past month, she said her kids, ages 8, 7 and 4, have become better behaved, kinder to one another and more independent.
"Beforehand, they didn't have a chance to just be present at home. Every day after school we were running to music, running to gymnastics, and then we would get home, do homework and go to bed," Hagege said.
"Now we have a chance to get stupid and take a break together. They've really stepped up, and they are shining," she said, talking about the games her kids are inventing and their new responsibilities like slicing fruits and vegetables for meals.
"It's been really eye-opening. I don't want it to go back to the way things were."
A number of parents are encountering a similar (and unexpected) response to shelter-in-place rules as Hagege: Their children seem happier.
They are less busy, have more control over their time, are sleeping better, seeing more of their parents, playing more alone or with siblings — and feeling better for it.