We get it, balancing your work-study life is hard on any given day, yet add kids into the equation and it is even tougher.
On the one hand, you’re studying to improve your circumstances and offer your family a better life,yet, this doesn’t eliminate the guilt you feel when essays and exams cut into your family time.
And that is the problem...
So what can you do?
Well we’re here to give you the solution.
Here are 7 top tips to help you study as a parent.
Tip 1: Create a schedule and share it with your family
By being upfront and honest with your family about your schedule, you can escape the guilt of trying to please everyone. Instead, everyone will be able to see where you’re free and when you need to be left undisturbed.
We suggest using your knowledge of when the holidays are happening to plan out – in advance – what you want to achieve during this period. Do you need to finish a certain amount of reading or assignments? You need to consider what you need to complete to keep yourself on track, and how long you realistically need to finish it.
- Be realistic – the reality is, you won’t be able to get as much done as you normally would when the kids are at school. Your productivity and free time will be less, so you need to be realistic about what you can get done and not be over ambitious.
- Spread out your studies – don’t go allocating it all for the day before your deadline, or try studying when you’re at a family gathering. Instead, spread them out at convenient times across the entire holiday so you don’t feel overwhelmed but can chip away at it steadily.
- Plan study time in a calendar – a good tactic is to use a calendar, planner or scheduler to help outline your day-to-day plans. This will highlight your best times to study, as well as act as a reminder so you don’t forget. They will also help you to get into a regular routine, so you’re mentally prepared to study when the time arrives.
- Plan around your kids – try to look for times when you know they’ll be occupied. Whether that is waiting until they have gone to bed, before they get up in the morning or when you know they’ll be out of the house; save these times to stay in and study.
- Do lots of short study bursts – aiming to do 20-30 minutes of study at a time will be easier than trying to study for solid blocks of a few hours at a time, especially as it is likely that these sessions will get interrupted.
- Create a schedule for the whole family – don’t just put your own plans into this calendar, but the entire family’s plan, too. This will make it easier for you to identify good times to study and where you can enlist your families help to help occupy/entertain the kids.
Tip 2: Look for ways to save time with your day-to-day duties
Now, we aren’t suggesting that you skip out on your chores as that will just leave you with a bigger job later down the line. What we are suggesting is that you look for ways to save time so you are free to do other things.
- Meal prepping
- Getting family/friends to help
- Delegating chores
- Prioritising tasks
We know it can be hard, but organising and prioritising can be the key to making free time.
Tip 3: Create a home study space
If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room, we suggest nabbing it!
Otherwise, pick a room that the rest of your family doesn’t need or won’t use regularly, i.e. your front room or dining room.
It is important that your kids are aware that this room is off-limits when you’re studying, so they won’t be tempted to pop in or disturb you (unless it is an emergency). Instead, let them know when you’ll be free again, so they’ll be more willing to wait.
Tip 4: Integrate studying with your other commitments
We don’t mean the type of multitasking where you’re washing dishes, babysitting and writing notes at the same time!
We recommend switching it up. Rather than listening to the radio, listen to study notes or webinars.
While you’re waiting for your kids after school club to wrap up, consider reading flash cards or mentally quizzing yourself on a topic. Make the most of pockets of empty time!
Tip 5: Keep your kids busy
Easier said than done we know; however, occupying them with fun activities will enable you to study without the guilt of worrying that they’re bored.
Try these tactics:
- Arrange playdates with friends or relatives.
- Utilise educational apps or websites.
- Consider hiring a babysitter for focused study time.
- Create a structured daily routine.
- Enlist the help of a family member.
- Allow limited screen time
- Reward their cooperation with small incentives.
- Throw on their favourite movie
Tip 6: Get them involved
Your kids will naturally be curious about what you’re doing, so try to make a game of it. If they’ve got homework, why not suggest that you all do your work at the same time?
This will kill two birds with one stone.
Not only will this ensure that they aren’t doing any reading, projects or worksheets at the last minute – adding to your stress – they will feel included in what you’re doing as you will all be doing it together.
Tip 7: Remember to enjoy yourself
With the pressure to complete assignments or prepare for exams, it can be easy to fall into the trap of letting them dominate and spoil your holidays. At the back of your mind is the constant awareness that you need to get it done.
To combat this, we ask that you remember that:
- You need regular breaks
- Focus on me-time
- If the kids are out, you don’t always have to study, try a nap… they usually help!
- Go for walks
- Do fun things with the kids so they can leave you alone later!
Remember – you’ve got this!
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