As if parenting isn’t enough work, juggling books and babies brings about a whole new chapter of challenges. So here’s what to expect when school and home-life intersect.
At the meeting point of a Venn diagram of college student and parent struggles are: late nights, ever-present distraction, and an enhanced capacity for multi-tasking. Although you’re managing a degree and diapers, or switching between watching lectures and giving them, revising while you’re raising has benefits of its own. Not only do your children learn to value education and its role in fast-forwarding a career, you act as a role model for them to be ambitious and hard working, you bring the knowledge of life experience to your studies, and you have the added motivation to succeed for your family. So if you’re learning how to be a student and a parent, here are our tips:
Go to your room
Yes, you can learn from home with the flexibility of distance education. This gives you more time with your little ones while they’re still little ones. However, homes filled with the pitter-patter of little feet can have an element of distraction to them. Within your home, try to make a space reserved for your study that, when occupied, sends a ‘do not disturb’ message to the rest of the family.
Plan what you can
Life is filled with the unexpected but planning ahead is the key to achieving your goals. Family is your priority but not your excuse. Draw up a (realistic) timetable and pencil in all the school pick-ups, soccer games, play dates, and music practice. Then schedule in your own activities, study time, as well as time together. Whether it’s a half hour while the kids are at swimming, or watching a lecture after you tuck them into bed, study when you can. A routine, however, is best to keep up to date with coursework. Depending on the age of your children, you may even make some of your study time a shared activity.
Keep a book in one hand and a bottle in the other
It’s all about balance. Look up from your laptop to say hi when your partner gets home from work, order takeaway sometimes, and read Harry Potter aloud occasionally instead of just mumbling jargon to yourself. Don’t miss out on important moments while you’re trying to get ahead. Remember the reason you’re studying.
In a home where you’re the go to for answers, advice, and assistance, don’t be scared to ask for help if you need it. As super-human as your kids may perceive you, even mums and dads need help sometimes.