Making the decision to begin your study journey or return to study can be a tricky one, no matter what stage of life you’re at.
But when you’re a parent, it can be a touch more challenging as juggling family life, work and study is hard. However, it is worthwhile if you want to achieve something in your professional life.
Don’t feel guilty for wanting to do better and allow yourself the time to chase whatever goal you want.
Here are some tips on how to study when you are a busy parent:
Get organised straight away.
Before you start, you should know the key dates, times and location of your training and then consider your study time also to ensure you can get it done. Parents are experienced in managing a few things at once so factor in time to study and time to go to your classes or if you are doing it online, you'll need time to sit in peace. This may mean asking for help from your partner or family but if it is important to you then it is vital to make the effort to achieve your goal.
Write a family schedule.
This should be placed in the kitchen with the dates and times you need to be training or studying as well as covering the kid’s appointments, days off and family occasions. Anything that you need to be involved in should be there and your partners too. If your partner is travelling for work, you should note that so you can be prepared for the extra work. This may not be the best time to study but perhaps you could work after the kids go to bed.
Figure out if you are a night owl or an early riser.
As silly as it sounds, some people are naturally night owls or morning people so figure out which one you are and either stay up a little later one or two nights a week or get up before the kids wake up. This may not be ideal (especially if you have younger kids who wake during the night) but if you can do this, you’ll find 1-2 extra hours in your day.
Support can come from all sources including career guidance, your employer, your partner, your family or your counsellor. Wherever you receive this support - it doesn’t matter as long as you feel supported on your journey. Studying is hard enough but when you are raising a family, it adds to the pressure so having a good support system will help you in your studying.
Learn to manage time and cut out the silly tasks
This is the time where you may have to leave the floors dirty while you do your studying, or you might have to let the polishing go out the window! It’s important to pick the most important tasks and let the other ones slide for a time until you are better positioned to get these things done. The kids won’t care if you get a takeaway or prepare a freezer dinner on the busier days. Don’t feel guilty for trying to study and for letting some things slide. You need to do that to get your studying time in and to make sure you can pass your exams.
Look at ways to save time
Get the shopping delivered, make dinners on the weekend (if you have time) to use during the week. Put aside a few hours on the weekend to study and get your partner to step in for the time being and promise to let him/her have a few days off once you are over the worst of the studying!
Create a study space
For success, you will need to have a place where you can study in peace. In an ideal world, you’ll have an office space or an extra room to do this but if not, your bedroom may work or the kitchen. However, if everyone is at home the kitchen can be hugely distracting. If home study is too hard, visit your library or go to a local coffee shop and dedicate all your time there to study. Turn off your phone and work for a few hours in peace.