Northampton Press

Monday, July 6, 2020

The Family Project: Coping in the time of coronavirus

Saturday, April 4, 2020 by CAROLE GORNEY Special to The Press in Focus

First of two parts

“The Family Project” panel shares strategies to cope with “stay-at-home” orders for coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Pam Wallace, Project Child program coordinator, has grown children living in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Oakland, Calif., which are coronavirus “hotspots.”

Said Wallace, “I try to check in with them every day, either by phone, FaceTime or Zoom. It gives me some peace to find them adjusting well and healthy.”

As with other panelists, Wallace also checks in on friends and relatives she hasn’t spoken with in awhile.

Staying in touch with her elderly parents through FaceTime and Skype helps panelist Wanda Mercado-Arroyo cope and feel more in control.

“I also can provide them assurance and love through a video and keep them informed as to what to do and not to do,” said Mercado-Arroyo.

Adhering to a schedule is panelist Erin Stalsitz’s coping strategy for her household with working parents and children: “Try your best to keep a schedule so there is some sort of normalcy for yourself and your children.

“Post a schedule on the fridge of play time, school time, cooking time, down time, outside time, etcetera. Try your best to adhere to the schedule so everyone can get work done and stay sane,” said Stalsitz.

For people with children at home, panelist Chad Stefanyak advised, “Maintain a regular routine, but also allow ample downtime. Don’t feel pressured to structure every hour with an activity.

“There’s something to be said for allowing your children time to create, problem solve and entertain themselves. You might be surprised with what they come up with,” said Stefanyak.

“Maintain a sense of humor. Listen to a comedy routine on Netflix or Sirius XM radio,” recommended panelist Denise Continenza.

“Follow some social media posts that depict funny animals in predicaments and children saying the darndest things. Laughter has been proven to be good for the mind and the body,” said Continenza.

Here’s a website with resources for children K-12:

Next week: More strategies to cope with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This week’s team of parenting experts are: Pam Wallace, program coordinator, Project Child, a program of Valley Youth House; Erin Stalsitz, Lehigh Children & Youth; Denise Continenza, extension educator; Chad Stefanyak, school counselor, and Wanda Mercado-Arroyo, educator and former school administrator.

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The Family Project is a collaboration of the Lehigh Valley Press Focus section and Valley Youth House’s Project Child.

The Times News, Inc., and affiliates (Lehigh Valley Press) do not endorse or recommend any medical products, processes, or services or provide medical advice. The views of the columnist and column do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Lehigh Valley Press. The article content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, or other qualified health-care provider, with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.