Trying to raise a family while going back to school can be overwhelming. How on earth will you have time to juggle all of your obligations? While you don’t want to neglect your children, you certainly don’t want to fall behind on your schoolwork. If you can plan your time appropriately, you can raise children and go to school, doing both successfully. Here are five tips to help you parent while going to school:
1. Organize Your Time
Rather than keeping a different calendar for every facet of your life, keep one planner for everything. Color-code your calendar, choosing one color for kids, one for your spouse, one for work and one for school. People that try to keep multiple calendars have good intentions but they often miss important dates. By keeping all of your information and pending appointments in one place you are less likely to forget an assignment or an activity.
2. Schedule Study Time
When you’re organizing yourself, make sure that you pencil in time to study. You may think that you’ll study when the kids go to bed or first thing in the morning but you’ll be surprised at how quickly that time gets away from you. Set aside at least 30 minutes each day to complete assignments, study your notes or read your text.
3. Schedule Family Time
Just like you schedule specific times to study, schedule time to spend with the kids. Don’t count after school activities or athletic events. Schedule fun time with your kids and let your kids choose the activity. For instance, if you pencil in two hours on Saturday afternoon to devote to the kids, set aside your books and let the kids decide what you’re going to do.
For added help, come up with an activity jar! Let your children write one activity on a slip of paper and have them put it in the jar. Continue adding activity ideas until the jar is full. When Saturday morning comes, let your child pick a slip of paper and take part in that activity as a family.
4. Study With the Kids
Do homework as a family! Not only will sitting down with your kids to do homework give you extra time to study, it will help you bond as a family. Your kids look to you as an example. There is no better way to teach them to be serious about their schooling than to sit down and study with them.
5. Online Classes
Many parents find that attending college online makes parenting while going to school much easier. Online classes allow you to be more flexible with your time. Rather than having to commute to school on a certain day at a certain time, you can sign onto your school’s website and “take” class whenever you have the time. You will need to be disciplined to attend class on the internet; it’s very easy to skip class or put it off until it’s too late!
Going to school and parenting in conjunction shouldn’t be stressful or difficult. If you can organize your time properly you can do both equally well. Grab a calendar, schedule family and school times and consider attending an online university. It will take some getting used to, but once you hit your stride you’ll find that being a student needn’t affect your relationship with your children.
Kelly Prachett is a career counselor and in her spare time she blogs for superscholar.org a site she often recommends to those who are trying to figure out which online colleges have the best online MBA programs. They have information on everything from the top online education administration programs to the best online nursing programs.