Life as a parent is exciting, but it can also be somewhat chaotic. Suddenly, it seems as though your priorities are turned on their head and the time you once had for yourself has disappeared into thin air, leaving you wondering how on earth are you supposed to find the time for personal development and further education now? The good news is that studying as a busy parent is entirely possible, it’s by no means easy, but it is possible. So here are five tips to help you if you are thinking of returning to school.
- Choose to study online
The internet has opened up a whole range of new opportunities for those looking to further their education. You can now study for virtually any qualification online, giving you the freedom to work from home around your childcare commitments and enabling you to achieve accreditation from reputable colleges and universities from all over the world. There’s nothing stopping you from achieving your MBA from your kitchen table, just be sure to check that the accreditation for MBA programs is recognized internationally if you choose to study online from a college abroad.
- Build yourself a support network
Studying when you have other commitments often involves some teamwork, so where possible, try to build yourself a support network containing friends and family that are aligned with your goals. These individuals will need to be there to help you with childcare commitments and to build you up when things get tough, so choose them wisely.
- Make yourself a schedule
Whatever it is you are choosing to study, pay close attention to the course layout and make notes of all the important assignment dates – this will enable you to prepare yourself a study schedule that will keep you on track. As a busy parent, your schedule may need to be a little more flexible than someone who has no other commitments, so give yourself plenty of time to complete your tasks and don’t leave anything to the last minute. Once you know your schedule, assign yourself some time to study each day, and if you don’t feel you have time, then make time by choosing to cook quick school night suppers or to skip that hour of television before bed.
- Do a little every day
Even on days when everything seems to be falling apart, your childcare plans have fallen through, you’re feeling under the weather or the laundry pile is calling your name try to put aside even just 10 minutes to do a little of your studies every day. Studying little and often every day will stop your assignments and reading from building up into a much more stressful mountain. Remember that even five minutes reading on the toilet is better than none at all, and sometimes we have to be grateful for all the study moments we can get.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself
Finally, don’t beat yourself up if things are more difficult than you anticipated. Studying as a parent is never going to be the same as studying as a teenager or young adult with no other responsibilities. Celebrate all your little wins, allow yourself some failures but most importantly pick yourself back up, be consistent and in the end, you will reach your goal.