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Our staff — and some local moms — share creative solutions to social distancing

Kate Reed’s sons (from left) Grayson and Jackson keep busy with homemade play dough while their mom supervises and makes calls for work.

The Raising Arizona Kids team went into “self quarantine” mode on Thursday, March 12. For most of us, it was a minor adjustment; many of us work from home part of the week anyway. But we miss the collaborations and friendships that make our work time together in the office meaningful and fun.

We spend a lot of time on Google Hangouts, always starting with, “Is everyone OK?” So far, knock on wood, no coronavirus has reached our staff or families. (Calendar Editor Carrie Wheeler did have a close call.)

We talk about what we’re doing, what we’re learning and where we have (or haven’t) found toilet paper and supplies. We end with, “Stay safe and well.”

At this time of challenge, focusing on the positives — and positive solutions — will support us all and keep us moving forward. Here are some ways our team found this week to “keep calm and carry on.” 

  • Tina Gerami-Bynum instituted “game nights” after her 14-year-old daughter Loren suggested the family play some board games. “I was able to get everyone to join in, and we enjoyed a couple hours of screen-free time together,” she says.
  • Kate Reed, who has two young sons at home, makes time for business calls while watching her boys participate in quiet activities she plans for them. (Today was homemade play dough.)
  • Hilary Adams found her two adult children, Alec (26) and Allison (23) back home from the University of Arizona after it went to online classes through the end of the semester. This weekend, she says, “We are going to heat our pool and walk our dogs.  My daughter and I are going to work on a family cookbook project together.”
  • Mary Vandenberg keeps her focus on others, “connecting with the elderly in my neighborhood to ask if I can run an errand when I am out and about.”

Our team has been chatting with our Facebook, followers, too, and we’ve enjoyed learning about the creative ways they are using this unexpected time at home. Here are three of our favorites.

Junice Marino of Phoenix is the mother of four children. Here’s what’s working for her: “We have daily schedule and twice a day we have outside activities. I am a teacher. I highly recommend having daily schedules to follow — it helps kids and parents. She shared a photo of her two girls climbing a tree, and the schedule she is using:

Erica Ward of Scottsdale writes that she is keeping her kids “as occupied as possible. We use a combo of live-streams from Facebook, printed activities, quiet tablet time, and one messy activity a day to get them outside. One recent project: a water bead letter “hunt” in a makeshift water table.”

She put a package of water beads into an under-the-bed storage bin and tossed in some alphabet magnets. She printed the letters of the alphabet on some paper and the hunt was on!

Jennifer Steinfeld of San Tan Valley has been taking a group of six — her three girls and friends — outside, or to venues that are open but no longer crowded. They like Sunset Park in Chandler and had what she described as a “BEST DAY EVER” earlier this week at USA Youth Fitness Center in Gilbert. (“Nothing like having a 6,000-square-foot gym to yourself!” she wrote.) Unfortunately, that particular option is no longer available: On Thursday, March 19, Gov. Doug Ducey ordered all gyms and fitness centers closed.

Stay safe and well! And please, keep sending us your great ideas.

Sunset Park, Chandler
The Steinfeld girls and friends at Sunset Park in Chandler. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Steinfeld.




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