We caught up with blogger Gabi Gandolfini, a full-time worker-from-home, Disney-enthusiast (she even has a separate Instagram dedicated to Disneyland tips!) and mum-of-two living in Hertfordshire. Gabi moved to the UK 15 years ago from Brazil and married her British husband, who initially took the reins of homeschooling their six and two-year-olds during lockdown before the family realised this wasn’t for them. Gabi chats to us about how they found their own new normal instead and what this process taught her about herself and her family. Watch the full interview on Kidadl TV or hear Gabi’s top tips below for negotiating lockdown to suit your own household.
Go At Your Own Pace
“We felt quite cornered by the question of going back to school. It feels a bit soon to make that call as it’s a combination of decisions that need to come together. We spoke to our son and asked him what he wanted to do, and in the end we decided we wouldn’t be sending him back in June. It’s hard because I’ve really struggled with the home learning, so in a way it would be easier to send him back. I know it’s the new normal and we have to get used to it, but it feels unnecessary at the moment.”
Trust What Works For You
“We started with the best of intentions and powered through for about two or three weeks, but it just didn’t work. I was worried that my son would start to have negative associations with learning because of the experiences he was having. So we stopped the formal homeschooling, without telling him, because he wasn’t learning anything anyway, and instead we did little bits of learning throughout the day when he was in the mood for it. Creating a schedule and routine for kids, I completely understand it but sometimes it just doesn’t work. For us being flexible has worked much better, and he’s improved his learning since we relaxed a bit.”
Use The Time To Learn About Your Family
“We always thought my son was very outgoing as he was always the joker of the class, but since lockdown I’ve realised that that was actually to mask the fact that he’s quite shy. And it took lockdown to really make me comprehend and understand that - the laughs and the jokes were his coping mechanisms for being shy. We’ve also learnt how similar my son and my husband are, being two males, and it took me as an outsider to notice and negotiate that. In terms of my relationship with my partner, I don’t feel like we’ve learned anything new about each other - the same things that made us laugh still make us laugh - but we’re learning to be a lot more tolerant, which we will definitely bring with us out the other side of lockdown.”
Make Downtime Special
“We try to make sure on weekends that they still have that fun time with Mum that they don’t normally get during the week. Even if we can’t go out it’s the little things like staying in our pyjamas, having breakfast in bed all together, going to the park, baking a cake, which make the weekends feel special.”
Cherish What Lockdown Has Given You
“I’m really enjoying the very rare opportunity of being home with the kids. We’re never going to get that again. I have time to have breakfast and dinner with them, and make lunch with them. Part of me is looking forward to going back to normal but I will miss the things I have now and won’t have the chance to have again. I 100% cherish this time.”
And Take The Positives Forward
“One thing I’ve noticed is that I’m a lot more relaxed at the end of a working day; when I was commuting I’d come home and still be stressed and not actually enjoy that time at home. I’ve been trying to figure out how I can still maintain this state of mind when I come home. This is a safe space and this space is OK no matter what the situation is. I haven’t figured it out yet, but at least now I’m aware of that stress I had before and which I don’t have now.”
Keep up with Gabi’s family on her main Instagram page below.
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