• Sue Yian Quek

Are School Closures Driving You Crazy? As a Parent, You Deserve A Break.

There's so much going around on how to occupy your children, how to help or support your child studying from home, activities, books, museum tours, safari tours - so much online to help you occupy a child's time.

I'm the mother of an active 4 year old, and speaking with friends with older children, we all say, "Enough!" Give us some breathing space. Isolation and death are enough to pile on the anxiety, let alone the guilt of not keeping your child occupied. You are doing enough. I want to sit back with a glass of wine watching my child play on the baby monitor without feeling that guilt of him being activity-less.

I could also do without that heavy guilt of having to be productive during MCO – whether it's perfecting a hobby or online professional development courses. Parents should feel it's fine to just let your child be. Your child doesn't have to pedal at breakneck speed to keep up with what school is dishing out. And parents shouldn't have to listen to how well other children are doing.

Everything will even out when schools reopen, whether it is the end of the year or next month. Work from school keeps the work ticking over, but it's not the alpha and omega of your relationship with your child in a lockdown. Moreover, The Surin Academy emphasizes on more than just academics. We talk about whole-person development and we value character above all. We want to see children graduating not only with academic excellence but with joy and wonderment for the world. We want children to be unafraid to try to change the world. We want children to be aware of human rights and are as comfortable talking philosophy as they do World of Warcraft. We want to grow deeply emphatic children who are, as our motto goes: unique, courageous, resilient, and kind.

Talk to your children about world issues, cook with them, garden with them, teach them to mend and sew on buttons. Engage them in lively debate during dinner, wax your car, learn to tie a school tie, talk about subjects that interest you, and even your own work. An education is not just getting to the end of worksheets and getting them all correct. Education is for developing a person. As a friend of mine said, what's the point of having the skills to build a website if there's no content to feed it with. We should celebrate creativity, especially since we are at the age of AI, and robots are taking jobs from people.

So don't feel that guilt when using the TV as a babysitter (For older children). Ask them, "What are you watching, what do you like about the film, and what didn't you like?" Engage your child and you might also learn more about them. The anxiety of having to always perform for your child, to upload, to print, to get them to do their worksheets does not have to be centre stage. Instead, your child is centre stage and its so important also to take a breather for yourself.

- Quek Sue Yian


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