There are many reasons why you might continue your studies as a parent. Perhaps you didn’t go to college the first time around or you never returned from that gap year. Maybe you want to expand your knowledge or explore a neglected passion. Whatever your reasons, perusing further education when you have children is commendable – you’re opening up new career prospects and earning opportunities, both of which will benefit your family and set a great example for your kids.
It may be challenging at times, but studying with kids of any age is certainly possible, so long as you keep the end result in sight. Here are 3 tips to help you balance family life with a college education.
Create a Family Calendar
It’s important to draw clear parameters around your time so that other members of your household know when to give you space. The easiest way to do this is with a family calendar that details all your commitments. Work out how many hours you need to dedicate to your education then work with your partner (if you have one) to establish the most convenient times for you to study. You’ll need to factor in events like work, school-runs, classes, exercise, and appointments, so it may take you a while to get everything planned out. A visible family calendar can be especially helpful for older kids, as they can see exactly what’s happening during the week – such as what classes they have and who’s taking them to soccer practice.
Find Reliable Childcare
If your children are younger than school age, you will need to find a reliable childcare provider to give you time to study. Your choices include hiring a child-minder or sending your child to nursery or daycare. The downside to hiring an individual rather than sending your child to preschool is that it doesn’t take much for a nanny or child-minder to go off sick or have to care for one of their own children – and then you’re stuck trying to study at home with your kids. An established pre-school with friendly and nurturing surroundings, such as Akeley Wood Nursery, is ideal, because it’s reliable, safe and gets your child ready to start first grade. You can learn more about Akeley Wood Nursery online.
Ask Others for Support
Whether you have a partner or are studying as a single parent, it’s important to ask others for support whenever you feel able. If you’re part of a two-parent household, your spouse is going to take on the bulk of the housework or grocery shopping at times, especially if you’re also holding down a job as well as your education. It’s best to discuss your mutual expectations beforehand, so there’s no conflict when you’re in the midst of studying or trying to cram for an important exam. Chances are, your partner knows that your education is important to both you and the family as a whole, so he or she will be supportive.
If you don’t have a partner to lean on, ask friends or family to do the school run once in a while or take the kids for the afternoon so you can catch up with your reading. Parenting is hard, with or without studying on the side, and it’s important to remember that you don’t have to go it alone.