#EmiTogether: Sonia Chang, co-founder of Playfully, on finding simplicity during this time of uncertainty

Today’s Interviewee: Today we have Sonia Chang, Co-Founder of Playfully, a baby and child development app that provides parents of 0-3 year olds tips, activities, and video classes to promote their child’s development. Sonia has been married for ten years this August! and they have three children – Kaira (4); Dev (2); and Luna (7 mo) and two furbabies – Bowser (7) and Biscuit (5). Sonia shares with Emi about how her young family is taking things day-by-day during social distancing.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sonia and her co-founder has made Playfully’s premium content FREE through March 31.

In light of what’s going on with COVID-19, WFH, and Social Distancing, what are some new routines or rituals that you’ve introduced as a couple or as a family?

We invested in an electric bike for Christmas — a tricycle one that lets you put two kids in the front basket. With all of the social distancing, we’re using the bike more than ever! A couple of times a week, I’ll take the older kids on a long bike ride around the neighborhood. It’s a great way for us to get some fresh air and introduce some variety into our day.

What are you doing intentionally for you and your partner to stay sane during this challenging period?

We try to be easy on ourselves and each other. This isn’t the time for us to take on big projects for the house (like spring cleaning, which we’ve been trying to do since January). Getting through each day is hard enough while trying to work from home and take care of three young children who all still need a lot of attention. We indulge in Netflix after all the kids are in bed. And we’ve started eating a LOT of ice cream! 🙂

Can you inspire us with something positive that came out of this situation?

Our family is now close to two full weeks in social distancing/no school/WFH mode. I thought that our kids would go stir crazy after just a few days in. Surprisingly, they seem totally unfazed. Without the daily pressure of getting them to school and their activities on time, they have the freedom to play at home as they please. They’re playing more deeply, creatively, and with a lot less fighting. They haven’t asked to go anywhere. Though the world is as complicated and uncertain as its ever been, our home feels a lot more simple. It’s made me think a lot about how kids are so overscheduled these days, and the importance of bringing back more unstructured play into their lives when things eventually go back to normal.

With all children at home and both parents working, how do you divide up child-care and home duties? How do you balance work?

We try to be respectful of each other’s commitments and take shifts covering the kids while the other person tries to get some work done. We also err on the side of overcommunication while we support each other through this. If a call is going longer than expected, we make sure to message each other right away, check in, and be accommodating — e.g. “my call is going longer than I thought. Are you okay handling all three kids right now, or should I try to finish up this call later today?”

What are you excited about most for the next several years with your significant other?

We’re excited for all of the adventures that lie ahead of us. Parenting has and will be one of our greatest adventures yet. But aside from our kids, we also look forward to traveling, pursuing our hobbies and passions, and just enjoying each other’s company, even if right now that means watching Netflix at home and eating lots of ice cream. 

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