Once you’ve decided to go back into studying, you may have a whole set of new roles and responsibilities that run alongside your course. If you’re a parent, the idea of committing to a program can feel daunting, especially if you’re constantly running around after the kids. However, while it may come with its challenges, it is possible to study for a degree while keeping your kids in check.
The key to all of this is balance. Regardless of what you’re studying and your career ambitions, here is a guide on how to combine family and studying, helping you to get the best of both worlds.
The number one tip for combining family life and studying is being organized. As a parent, you should already be a pro at multitasking, but when it comes to being a student and keeping your kids happy, creating a schedule is a must. Before getting stuck into your degree, it’s worth buying a calendar and sectioning off times that you can dedicate to learning.
If you have chosen an online degree, while there is more flexibility and freedom in terms of when and where you study, you still need to be organized and in control of your schedule. As you become a master of time management, everything will slot into place, allowing you to combine spending time with your kids with being fully committed to your degree.
Talk to Your Partner
When studying for a degree, you will need the love and support of your partner to get you to the finish line. If you both share parental duties, your partner needs to step up to the plate and help you out during your course. Before learning gets underway, it’s time to sit down with your spouse and discuss how the next year is going to play out. Your partner should be fully behind your decision to go back into education, so don’t feel guilty about putting yourself first.
Once you have open and frank conversations with your partner, you can devise a schedule and routine that enables you to get the most out of your course. Whether this involves your partner taking and picking up the kids from school or taking them out to the park, so you have some much-needed peace and quiet, make sure you have these chats before you go into student mode.
Depending on the age of your kids, they may not fully understand that you’ll need some alone time during your course. You need to establish boundaries from the start and find an area of the home that can be dedicated to studying. The last thing you need is constant interruptions and distractions, so sitting down with your kids and explaining what will happen is important.
To combine family and studying successfully, there needs to be rules in place that enable you to concentrate on your workload. As well as establishing boundaries, you should set realistic goals that will give you something to work towards.
Reach Out for Help
As well as getting help and support from your spouse, you should reach out to your support network during your time as a student. If your partner has to work away and you’re left in charge of childcare, it may be wise to call up a family member or friend who can step in and share the load. This will mean you can catch up with coursework or revise for an exam, without the worry of having to entertain your children simultaneously.
Your loved ones will be there for you every step of the way, so don’t feel guilty about reaching out for help. If you are studying at a land-based establishment, you may engage with other student parents. This can be a fantastic opportunity to share tips and advice on how best to keep your kids happy while studying.
Pick a Suitable Course
Understandably, you need to pick a course that correlates with your lifestyle. For instance, if you have no other option than to look after the kids in the mornings, you may not benefit from studying in person. If you’re juggling work as well as studying, you may be better off opting for an online degree.
Whether you decide on Baylor University and study an online ABSN or your eyes are drawn to the business world and you want to study for an MBA degree, you must look at the course specifications, so you know what is expected of you, as well as how much time you need to commit to the degree.
Make Room for Quality Time
Above anything else, spending quality time with your children and partner is crucial during your time as a student. It can be difficult to find the right balance between learning and being around loved ones, so you need to find windows of opportunity during the day and night that can be used solely for your nearest and dearest. This can include tucking your kids into bed, spending breakfast together, or having a movie night.
You don’t want to come to the end of your degree and feel you’ve neglected your children and partner. While a lot of your focus will be on attaining the best grades possible, that’s not to say you can’t have fun along the way. Don’t feel guilty about taking regular breaks from studying. After all, your health and wellbeing are essential for getting through your degree.
Retaining a positive mindset throughout your degree can be difficult. Trying to please everyone while studying can heighten stress levels and cause you to burn out. Therefore, you need to try and keep upbeat during your course, which will help keep you sane and on track.
Embarking on a degree while looking after the kids may feel like a mammoth task. However, with some preparation, organization, and honest and open conversations, you will be able to juggle your studies, while maintaining a happy and healthy family life.
Whatever course you decide on doing, or how old your kids are, always remember that you’re studying to gain a degree that will benefit all of you.