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Parent Diaries Part II: Arlington Mom Of 6 Offers Tips For 'Controlling The Chaos' At Home In COVID Times

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Most DFW students are still learning from home these days. For parents of multiple children, that can mean a lot of juggling. One Arlington mom invited us to see how she controls the chaos.

With six students in four grades at three schools, Dee Jay King has to be organized. "There's no way I could memorize, 'okay you've got a meeting at this time, you've got a meeting at that time,'" said King. She keeps track with detailed schedules that hang next to her students' work areas. Every hour is accounted for, including the play time. She says it gives her first grade triplets a focus, and it cuts down on the pandemonium.

She also uses the schedules to know when her teenagers are free. "If I need them to help me with something, I know when they're available." She suggests utilizing older children, especially if they have experience with classroom apps.

Then there's the food.

"I try to set it up cafeteria-style," said King, sweeping her arm across a kitchen island filled with pre-packaged food. "I have a breakfast and lunch menu - that way I'm not serving six different meals every day."

Her system is designed to minimize disruptions and maximize efficiency, though King admits it can be difficult with everyone learning under one roof.

"I'm not going to lie - we've had meltdowns, we've had crying, we've had arguing."

Then there's everything else on her "to do" list.

"In between assignments I'm trying to wash dishes, or do a load of laundry, or sweep the floor."

King said sometimes she doesn't pay attention to the housework until after the children are in bed.

That's why she said it's so important for parents to give themself a break.

"You have to take care of yourself," said King. "Because if you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of them."

King relieves stress by teaching and attending Zumba classes each week. For her, a little time away from the house improves her mood and attitude.

"You've got to re-energize or you're going to be so exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally."

Those little breaks keep her going. So does the hope that schools will reopen one day soon.

"I told the teachers I don't do Black Friday but the night before [school] we will be parked in front of the building!"


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