In the words of Michael Norton, “if there’s ever a time that parents need some help, it’s now.”

On Tuesday, the Harvard Business School behavioral economist called in to Boston Public Radio to talk about his research on social rituals, and how they can help parents guide their children through the more bizarre day-to-day aspects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Asked what he means by “rituals," Norton used the example of a parent who reads to their kid before bed every night.

“They’re these things that we do... all we really want is for the kid to get in bed. So you could just put the kid in bed, [but] we all know that that doesn’t work very well."

Norton said about 50-60 percent of parents he surveyed reported creating news rituals with their kids over the past several weeks.

“If you think about getting a kid to wear a face mask all day — if you have a kid, [it’s] not necessarily the easiest thing,” he joked.

He advised parents to make their rituals personal.

"One thing that we see often with rituals in many domains is that they help us feel a little bit more in control of whatever’s going on in our lives,” he said. “One of the ways we can feel control actually is to... design them ourselves.

"When you’re able to design it a little bit yourself, that can help a little bit make it yours, and then it can be a little bit more effective,” he said.

Michael Norton is the Harold M. Brierley professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. His Latest book is "Happy Money, The Science of Smarter Spending." He’s also co-host of the podcast "Talking Green," which explores the psychological forces that drive attitudes and decisions around money and investing.