How to Combine Your Study Time with Good Parenting
Going back to school when you have children at home is no easy task. But it is definitely possible to raise kids and attend college at the same time.
Here are a few tips from student-parents that show how you can balance spending quality time with your kids and meeting your own educational goals.
Create study time games
Play is a part of learning! Make your kids a part of study times by creating games. Have them hold flash cards for you, explain things out loud to them in a funny voice, or teach them mnemonic devices that you’re using to remember information.
A side benefit: Later, when they repeat the information you’ve taught them, you’ll be reminded of what you need to know.
Plan on interruptions
Always plan to be interrupted while your kids are with you. Rather than reading dense materials or trying to get through that paper, choose high-level tasks such as: making outlines, reviewing notes from class, making flash cards, and skimming lighter reading.
That way, when distractions happen, you’ll be able to get back on the study track much faster.
Take breaks for play
Plan play breaks during your studying so you can concentrate on being with your kids. Taking regular breaks is good for your memory, as well! Try a time management method to keep track of study and break periods. You might even use a kitchen timer so the kids can count down to play time.
Anything that you can do to make positive associations between study time and fun time will benefit you. The idea is to slowly train your kids to understand that “study time” means “quiet time,” and play time is just around the corner.
Make study time special
Keep special toys that are just for your study time. That way, your kids get to play with exciting toys while you work and will associate these treats with your studying. So when you say you need to study, they will get excited about their toys.
Choose TV and movies carefully as they can be distracting for everybody. During study times, you may want to choose calming, educational programs for your kids to watch. This can be a treat for them, especially if they don’t get to watch TV regularly. You can do light schoolwork in the same room so they get to enjoy your physical presence.
If your child or children are in school, schedule your schoolwork time together. You’ll be able to monitor their homework while doing your own and set a good example. It’s a great opportunity to bring back study games and quiz each other!
Plan for time to study alone
Sometimes children just can’t be part of your study time. When you need to write your paper or get through dense reading, focus is key. Studying after the kids go to bed is a tried-and-true option. You might also consider adding a bit of time to the beginning and end of your day out of the house for studying so you can find a quiet place to do some work.
Remember that you don’t have to be out of the house to use childcare. If you can afford it, hiring someone to spend time with the kids while you’re home may be helpful. Enlist the help of friends with kids and family members when you need it.
Going to school when you have kids isn’t easy. But you knew that going in. The same determination that helped you focus on your education will help you practice good parenting as well.