Republished from International School Parents Magazine, with permission.
If you are like me, slightly connected on social media, you have already read a ton of posts with websites to consult and learn about:
- How to get your children entertained during lockdown
- Establish a routine to your children
- Tips to homeschool your children
- Ideas on how to teach life skills
- PE lessons replaced by yoga over YouTube
- And others
My goal now is to acknowledge that we, international school parents, did not choose this lifestyle and might be shaken by it. Lives might be disrupted and you might be asking how you are going to cope with it all. However, we are the population best prepared to deal with it and I will prove it to you.
If you read my article on school transition in the spring edition of the magazine you have probably noticed that two of the main traits of expats and international nomads are resilience and adaptability. And this is exactly what we need now.
Life does not come with a map, and we are often facing adversities and changes, big challenges and small. Our power to be flexible and adapt to the new reality, our capacity to go back into shape is our resilience. As you can see, highly connected to our flexibility.
This does not mean that we will not feel distressed or not go through difficult times, it means simply that we know emotional distress is part of the process, part of the big process we call life.
We, nomadic professionals and expats, are used to having to adapt to new realities, cultures, languages. We have re-created ourselves at least one time in a new environment. We already found ourselves completely isolated and having to deal with situations on our own.
Distance learning and homeschooling our children is one of these life challenges. Especially if you work from home and have no teaching skills, like me. I hear you and I know we are going to do it with grace.
That said, there is no way we can do this alone and this is when my small list of must do’s builds up:
- Prioritize relationships. Call, Facetime, message and Skype loved ones as much as you can. Call, Facetime, message and Skype your neighbors (especially the elderly ones), other parents from school. Motivate your children to do the same. Feeling isolated never helped anyone to climb out the rabbit hole.
- Join an online group or two - family, neighbors, school parents, church or any other. Sharing is caring and we do feel cared when we can share our experiences and feel heard. In times of Corona this can be done online - a heaven for introverts and non-native speakers alike.
- Take care of your body. The Internet is a blessing, isn’t it? You can follow your favorite yoga or Zumba class online, climb stairs inside the house or play Just Dance with the children. Keep your mind moving as anything that happens will feel lighter with a healthy body.
- Take care of your mind. Download a mindfulness app and do it 10 min a day. If you are not into meditation at all, try and connect with yourself for 10 min per day. Watch the sunset, play an instrument, paint. Whatever makes you feel connected with your emotions and mind.
I know this is all easier said than done and the children are still running around or trying to understand that impossible math equation that you cannot grasp either. Involve them in their own lives, talk about community, caring for each other and for ourselves, create family space to talk about whatever subject they need to talk about and be empathic. They are also learning this new way of living.
And remember, this too shall pass.
Carolina Porto is an International Transition Coach specialized in school transitions and international mobility. Working online for the last 10 years and using a mixture of her multicultural understanding of emotional behaviour during a transition and coaching techniques, she offers online coaching and counseling for mobile and high-mobile families. Find her at https://www.carolinaporto.net