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We were talking to one of our friends the other day and he was mentioning something that at first was strange to us.

He said, “As weird as all of this sheltering has been, I’ve really enjoyed the extra time with my family. Normally we are all just consumed with our own ’stuff’ and getting onto our next thing, but now we are spending time with each other, playing games, and putting down our electronics to really enjoy each other’s company. I hope that doesn’t end.”

That got us thinking about things you could do once restrictions are eased and people start returning to their normal routines.

As our friend said, families have had to spend an inordinate amount of time together because of shelter in place. And they have had to figure out how to live with each other 24/7 — eating, homeschooling, playing games, working, reading, cooking, watching TV and so forth.

Family members have had to learn new coping techniques and how to deal with others while boredom, frustration, and even confusion, mounts. Obviously, communication and learning new communication skills have become really important.

Ideally, families will come out of Shelter in Place stronger, more attuned to each other, and with communication and interpersonal skills enhanced. But how do you keep this family unity and cohesiveness intact once the emergency orders have been lifted and we all get back to “normal,” whatever that may entail in a post-COVID-19 world?

One of the best places to do that is for your family to book an escape room adventure. Because of safety precautions necessitated by the virus, only family groups and groups of close friends will be allowed to book individual escape rooms — no strangers will be allowed in your group.

This not only allows families to stay together after Shelter in Place, but helps keep those communication skills and interpersonal dynamics going strong, continuing, and even improving. Nothing like an escape room adventure to keep the family unit together and to keep enjoying each other’s company!

Here are five ways an escape room is perfect for your family time:

1. Escape rooms test your family’s ability to communicate.

Communication is key in an escape room environment. You only have one hour to complete your task, so to be successful, families must communicate effectively with each other. Escape rooms may even identify communication skills you didn’t know you had!

2. Escape rooms can identify areas in which families need to improve.

Nothing like a one-hour challenge to shine a light on areas where families need to improve their communication and problem-solving skills. If one member seems to be lagging behind, the rest of the family can help boost their confidence and self-worth by helping and encouraging them. A family session after the challenge will help members improve certain areas the next time they take on an escape room, giving everyone a chance to brush up on areas they feel they need to improve.

3. Everyone in the family can get involved.

Age is not a barrier or impediment to solving escape room mysteries. In fact, younger players tend to not overthink things or miss obvious answers. With so much to solve, hidden objects to find and locks to unlock, everyone in the family will be busy. With so many different puzzles and challenges, everyone gets a chance to show off their particular skills. The team leader (and that can be anyone in the family!) can encourage everyone to contribute and work as a team.

4. Escape rooms create quality time for families.

During Shelter in Place, individual family members can have a tendency to go off and do things on their own and not participate in group activities. Sociologists who study family togetherness say that quality time spent together is more important than the quantity. And when a family is in an escape room, the entire time is quality time because so much of the one-hour challenge is spent communicating with each other while working towards a shared goal.

5. Families can make a full day out of an escape room.

Escape room adventures are only an hour-long, but families can make a day out of it, with lunch before or after the experience, adding a visit to a park or engaging in outdoor sports activities to continue that gaming spirit you had when you were in the escape room. Having a full family day can help you build on the positive feelings that are likely to be created in the escape room.

The bottom line is that an escape room can be a great time for all ages in the family, no matter what their separate interests might be, and will be a bonding experience that everyone will be talking and thinking about for a long time. You may even notice a positive difference in how the family interacts and communicates with each other, even after being stuck together in the house. bringing everyone together. An escape room is an opportunity to make memories with the ones you love in a unique way.


Monterey has two escape rooms to choose from — Escape Room 831 on Lighthouse Avenue in New Monterey and Exodus Escape Room on Cannery Row — founded by entrepreneurs Christina and Barrie Riddoch of Monterey.

Call (831) 241-6616 or go to To book a room at Escape Room 831, send a message

Exodus Escape Room is at 765 Wave St., Suite A2, has three rooms. Call 831-324-0513 or go to