COLLIN COUNTY, Texas — The first day of school already brings anxiety, ask any parent. But now mix in a pandemic, new health and learning environments, and you have what many North Texas families are facing this month.
"It's overwhelming. It's really a lot and I get it, it's 100% there. It's a lot," said Laura Hernandez, who started her own family consulting business several years ago called Mama Systems.
According to the website, the consults are about "putting tried-and-true systems in place for Mamas who want to bring peace and joy to their time doing school-at-home."
Hernandez is no stranger to a full workload and does not have what many would consider a typical family. She and her husband live in Collin County with their 10 children. Seven children are biological and three are adopted through the foster system. So navigating school and COVID-19 with their family dynamic, requires a whole new level of preparedness.
Hernandez works with families through the anxieties of schooling. She offers plans, schedules, and even the simplest tips like letting your children decide what they wear on the first day of school or what markers to buy.
"If we can give them some control in this situation and let them have some buy-in, they're going to be a lot more excited about it than they currently are," said Hernandez.
Hernandez will homeschool all her children. It's not an easy feat by any imagination, and she admits that. But she does say when a family unit works with a system, they are able to better navigate the challenges on a daily basis.
Hernandez says families who are sending their children to school should keep it simple this first week.
"During the summer, I really encouraged families to have theme nights to create some fun, and so maybe keeping those for the fall," she said.
Surviving these next couple weeks, months, or maybe semester may be about controlling what we can.
Here's Hernandez' tips for parents:
- Be kind to yourself and try to avoid comparing yourself to other families. Your situation is unique to your family.
- Make it a priority to plan. Prioritize what things are important to you.
- Pick three things you want to get accomplish. Completing these daily goals can be fulfilling.