Kids and College? You Can Do It!
Working and going to school can be difficult; never mind raising kids and going to college! Parenting while attending school can necessitate learning a new skill: juggling. While it can seem a bit overwhelming at first, balancing your parenting responsibilities with your role as a student can easily be done. Follow these tips and you’ll find that you have enough time for both your kids and your homework!
1. Schedule Time To Study
At the beginning of every new class you’ll be given a syllabus. Sit down with your syllabus, your kids’ schedule and a blank calendar. Studying doesn’t have to be done at the same time on the same day of every week, but it does need to be done. By scheduling specific time to study, you’re more likely to actually get it done.
2. Do Your Homework Together
When you attend school, you’ll have homework; just like your kids do! Sit down with your kids and do your homework together. Not only will it give you a chance to get your work done but you may just find that your kids are more apt to complete their work if they see you doing yours. You obviously aren’t going to write a five page paper in the short time it takes your child to write out ten spelling words, but you can get an outline done!
3. Keep Them in the Loop
Once you’ve created your schedule, be sure that your kids know what that schedule is. If your children know that Friday night, at 7pm, is your studying time, they are less likely to bother you with silly questions. You may have to be rather firm at first, but your children will soon learn to give you the space you need for an hour or two.
4. Pack a Bag
Your kids have doctor’s appointments, sports practice, and music lessons. Rather than scatter your notes and textbooks around the house, keep them in a bag that you can quickly grab and toss in the car. Sneak a study break whenever the opportunity arises: waiting at the doctor’s office, while your child has a dance lesson or whenever you have ten minutes while waiting for your children. You’ll be surprised at how quickly this time adds up!
5. Make Time for the Kids
Don’t let school take away from quality time with your children. Just as you’ll need to schedule study time, you may need to schedule kid time. Pick a day and time of the week, for instance, Saturdays from noon to 2pm, when all of your attention will be focused on your children. If your kids aren’t made to feel like they are taking a backseat to your studies, they are more likely to be supportive and less likely to be disrespectful of your need to study or complete assignments.
Parenting your children while attending college can be done; you just have to be organized. Don’t wait until you’ve started school to begin! Come up with a game plan well ahead of time, talk to your kids about why you are going back to school and explain your plan for attending school and meeting their needs at the same time. You may be pleasantly surprised at how excited your children are that mom or dad is going to school too!Peter Harrington is a career counselor and content contributor for Top Online Colleges, a great source for information on expanding your education, from veterinary and pharmacy degrees to listings of the top online schools and their rankings.