Coronavirus outbreak leaves families to cope with change: Here’s what they’re doing

The resilience of the human spirit in the Miami Valley has become more evident over the past few weeks as many residents practice social distancing and find ways to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

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Many people last week received notice to work remotely from home, and schools were let out for weeks in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Life in the “quarantine zone” was thrust upon many families as people were instructed to keep at least six feet away from others and to stay home unless going for food gas or other essentials.

Daily lives have changed dramatically and people are finding different ways to fight the boredom.

Area residents, Cory and Jenna Tardiff, are finding ways to entertain their son, Liam, who is 17-months-old.

I stocked up on bubbles to blow,” Jenna said said with a laugh. “I’m trying to rotate one or two special activities throughout the day. Like coloring, play dough, bubbles etc.”

Gathering those maternal instincts to keep the youngsters entertained, while not also just becoming unglued, has been one strong point that has emerged out of the recent crisis.

“A friend of mine made a running thread so us mamas can share all the free things museums, zoos and online artists are offering for kiddos,” Jenna said. “I’ve found afternoon art classes, zoo safari zones, cooking classes you can do at home. It’s really amazing what’s come out to help families keep their children occupied.”

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She added, “for me and Liam specifically, I’ve decided that my goal is to have Liam potty trained by the end of this. Being stuck in the house for eight weeks with nothing else to do seems like the perfect time to get it done.”

Beckett Springs, a facility that offers mental healt treatment in the region, said there are several steps people can take to support their loved ones and practice self-care at this time:

• Talk with people you care about and trust. Many free video conferencing tools exist to help deepen the connection, or an old-fashioned phone call will work just fine.

• Take breaks from listening to, reading or watching the news, particularly social media. If you’d like to stay updated on the virus, do so once a day. Repeated references to the virus can be overwhelming.

• Take care of your body. In addition to practicing social distancing and handwashing, try to exercise, stretch or meditate. Get plenty of sleep and continue to eat healthy.

• If your anxiety becomes overwhelming and is interfering in everyday activities, or if the stress is causing an increase in substance use, reach out for help.

When Gov. Mike DeWine recently ordered bars to shutdown to combat the coronavirus, Jessica Boyd, a bartender with two bartending jobs was suddenly out-of-work.

“I lost both jobs due to shutdown so I have all the time to home-school and I don’t mind one bit,” Boyd explained, noting that she’s using the at-home time to do some teaching for her children, but also mixing in some, “go noodle and cosmic yoga, then art.”

Jenny and Brent Schumacher, along with their children, Josiah, 12, Cady, 8, and Lucus, 3, have been going to church from the safety of their home. The couple says and are just trying to make the best of a tough situation.

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Wittenberg professor Sarah Fortner said her husband Trey has been using some ingenuity with their kids to make them feel that they are still in school.

“Right now, during his lunch break, Trey has gotten out the chalkboard and is trying to convince the kids he is now their teacher,” Sarah said. “We alternate. I also clean way more than I ever have.”

George Nelson Parker III and his wife Wendy work from home, so for them the routine is more about grabbing groceries before they get hoarded.

“The wife and I work from home, so no changes there. Started buying extra items here and there weeks ago before all the grocery store hysteria started. We plan on holding up at the house as long as needed,” he said.

Daria Schaffnit is a pastor in Yellow Springs and she’s taking a creative approach with her young child.

“Extra crafts with my son and cooking with him,” Schaffnit said. “He helped me mix up some taco seasoning yesterday. Today, soda bread.”

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Kate Hamilton made an Irish feast with her kids to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and is also helping them stay up on n their grades.

“Kids are doing school,” she said. “There are a lot of resources for entertainment and exercise and studying popping up online everyday.”

Experts say getting outside for a walk is a healthy idea and exercise as long as they are social distancing.

Holly Hammersmith and her husband Neal are adjusting to the changes ordered by the governor, but she says its important to keep moving, “so we don’t become sloths, exercise daily, get outside daily even if just 15 minutes, call someone every day family or friends.”

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The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery will release a daily DIY Science Activity with easy to get materials, step by step instructions, and a basic science explanation for families to download available on its website


If you have a library card and are using to learn new skills, there’s some national virtual museum tours, etc. to experieNce.

Five Rivers Metro Parks is a great way to get out and get some fresh air as walking alone or in pairs is a safe way to get out of the house. So are walks in general.

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