How To Balance Studying Online With Parenting
Posted December 14, 2016, by Jordan Huidekoper
No one could argue that studying while being a full-time parent is a tough balancing act. It’s one that puts many parents off the idea of pursuing a qualification, thus potentially slowing their opportunities for career advancement. While the additional work can make things hectic, there are ways to make juggling your commitments more manageable.
The trick – which seems quite reasonable when you think about it – is maintaining a good balance between study and family commitments to ensure that you’re still being the best parent you can.
Find your equilibrium
First and foremost, online study is about finding the right home/life balance. Without balance, you’re heading for unnecessary stress or under-utilised time and energy. A simple way to manage this is to write down all your responsibilities for the next few months, broken down by weeks and days, to ensure that you set aside specific times for study. Cultivating good habits will ensure that you won’t end up sacrificing any of your existing commitments. Knowing that you have a predetermined time to finish an assignment may also help push you to complete it, giving you more time to spend with your kids.
When you’re studying and raising children simultaneously, it’s important to make time for yourself to reconnect with the things you enjoy most. This will help prevent you from burning out, and also have a positive flow-on effect on your studies. For instance, as you venture out for your morning run, head to your local cafe for a coffee with friends, or snuggle up on a comfy armchair to get stuck into a book. By taking the time to unwind, you’ll be able to clear your mind, refocus and start afresh when you need to get back to your coursework.
Seek support from your networks
Calling on your support network to help with babysitting duties or running errands can provide a helping hand during assignment time and peak study periods. This can give you a much-needed extra hour or two where you can focus completely on a particular task, distraction-free. If you know that you’re likely to be distracted by the background noise from a television program or the pile of unfolded clothes in the laundry, it might be easier to leave the house altogether. Finding a tranquil retreat at a family member or friend's house while they look after the kids can assist you in keeping study time separate. Looking to your partner for support is also crucial during busy times, because they want you to succeed.
Another avenue of support lies with the connections you will make while studying online. Your fellow online students are not only studying the same course, but are likely also experiencing the same pressures of balancing work, study and family. Seeking their advice can provide an alternative perspective for managing this often-complex juggling act.
Work with your family
It’s essential that your family (including your children if they’re old enough) understands the importance of your education, and can be flexible when you need them to be. Before you start studying, it’s a good idea to explain what you are doing, why you’re doing it and what you’ll get out of it. By asking them to be patient and understanding, you’ll create an environment that will make the journey much easier as you progress with your studies.
If you have older children, studying with them is an effective way to lead by example, while demonstrating the discipline required to be successful at school. They can finish their homework while you complete yours, allowing you to spend time with each other and talk about your shared experiences.
• Studying requires self-belief and a strong commitment to achieving your goals. Write down why you’re studying to remind yourself of your goal during tough times.
• As parents, you’ll know all too well the importance of routine for creating balance. Organisation is key; this will help create space for your studies.
• The connections you make while studying online can provide you with support and help you get through deadlines.
• Online study in an investment in your future. It can help to accelerate your career across a range of industries to land you that dream job – all while studying on your terms and in your own time.
Committing to an online course can help you balance your existing personal and professional responsibilities, while taking charge of your career trajectory. SCU Online offers a range of flexible online courses that can work around a busy work/life schedule.
What kind of learner are you? See how you can unlock your learning style and make it work for you.
Jordan is a writer and photographer with a keen interest in personal growth and development.