The past few weeks have presented the global community with a myriad of challenges, and unlike remote world news stories that do not directly touch us, the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak has been felt in every UNIS Hanoi home.
Distance learning is a strategy that has safeguarded our UNIS Hanoi community, however it has also disturbed our routines, home lives and family dynamics. Some families are now midway through a second week of extended hours in the company of one another in their home, while others may have travelled out of Hanoi and now face an unsettled end to the week as they await updates about the reopening of school.
No matter where you are, the stress of your circumstances could be impacting your wellbeing and your family’s interpersonal relationships. Added to this is the challenge for parents to become full-time schoolwork supervisors. Your child/ren too have needed to adjust to a different role, that of ‘distance learner’, and have had to see their parents in a new light too.
If you and your family are struggling with these new roles, give yourself permission to take a break. Be aware that you might be suffering from a form of culture shock! Step out of the moment and do something different that helps you to reconnect with your family in ways that are more familiar.
Give yourself permission for learning to be “OK”
At UNIS Hanoi we strive for excellent learning. But what does excellent learning look and feel like at home? It should look and feel like your child’s best, and ‘best’ doesn’t mean ‘perfect’.
What your child and family’s best looks like can change day-by-day. No matter how your day goes, trust us when we say that your best is still going to be good enough.
If you feel friction or upset between you and your child and you find yourself cajoling them into their day’s learning, be mindful of this dynamic and step back from the conflict. If your child seems anxious about completing “everything”, reassure them that their best is good enough. When we are stressed, we can have a low tolerance to minor problems and higher levels of frustration. Model for your children how we can choose to stay calm and manage our big emotions.
Inside the mind of your child’s teacher
Your child’s teacher is living every waking moment with the realization and appreciation that parents have it tough at home. Our faculty deeply appreciates the manner with which the community has been diligently reading emails, opening links, navigating new apps and technology and making it all work for their child. We couldn’t do it without you!
Notice and praise success – and do it early and often
No matter your experiences this week with distance learning, your family has enjoyed a number of successes. It is just up to you to notice and celebrate them!
It could become too easy to fall into a ‘glass half empty’ approach to distance learning. Honoring and talking about the great things that you and your children have done this week is actually a more satisfying and psychologically healthy approach to take. It may even lift your spirits beyond the heavy skies and ongoing troublesome news stories.
Give yourself some kudos for everything you have managed these past weeks.
Taking on the roles of parent, teacher and adult (with your own life that isn’t suddenly put on hold) may not have been the easiest on you. Consider some rewards for you and your family to put on the calendar (e.g. a visit to a favourite family restaurant, a spa treatment for you), and focus on how your family, and the learning that you have helped orchestrate, is actually excellent.
UNIS Hanoi Counselling Team