4 tips to help parents balance a degree with family life

4 tips to help parents balance a degree with family life

*collaborative post* 

Have you ever thought about further education as an adult? I love the idea of doing another degree, something with the Open University maybe. I haven’t done much more than think about it though as I don’t know how I would do it as a parent of three. Studying as a parent is possible though, you just need to be organised and willing to work hard. Today’s guest post is full of advice to help you balance your degree and your children. If you are a mum (or Dad) about to start a degree, good luck and I hope you find this post useful.

Tips for balancing your degree with family life 

As a parent, the thought of entering into an education program can seem daunting. Your time, attention, and headspace can easily be filled with the life of your little one. But nowadays many educational institutions have adapted to be more parent-friendly and it is possible to obtain a degree without neglecting your parenting responsibilities. Here are some top tips on how to get the most out of your degree, while raising your children. 

Be Open 

Well-respected educational bodies will have policies and measures in place to support students from all different lifestyles. However, your university or college may only offer support if they are aware of your situation. Be open about your arrangements and how much time you can commit to a course before beginning studies. Ask the institution how they can support you and your family during studies. Many course tutors will be happy to discuss alternative arrangements and put that into practice before the course even begins.

Manage Expectations

Managing expectations will be crucial to maintain healthy relationships and to not become overstretched in any one area of your life. The key expectations to manage are those of your tutors, your family, and your own. With tutors, speak to them about how your working pattern will be dictated by when your children head back into school and when they are on holiday. These term times may not line up with your course schedule. With your family, you may need more support with household chores or meal times. But vitally, with yourself, remember that studying needs headspace and rest. If you fill every minute of the day with activity your brain will become tired and you will not be able to focus. The key to managing expectations is honesty. Take time to check in with yourself, your family, and your tutors, ask if you are living up to expectation and if not, what is the problem. The more open you can be about the problem, the more help you will have in finding a solution. 

Short Term Accommodation

For some courses, there will be periods of intense pressure. For instance, you may have a diet of exams or practical assessments that take place within a short space of time. It may be useful to plan time away from the family during this time to focus on course work. Accommodation providers such as Axo Student are happy to discuss short term accommodation agreements with students. This will provide you with headspace and allows you to concentrate on your studies when you need to. 

Ask For Support

Finally, remember that as the old saying goes “It takes a village to raise a child.” Ask your friends and family for support. They can help with childcare during exams, or provide meals or even help with the school run. Your friends and family will want you to succeed in your studies and may be very willing to help. It is always worth asking the question, as you never know, some of them may be looking for how best to support you. If your children are old enough, ask them for support too. They may be willing to do the dishes or take the pet for a walk if it allows you an hour or so typing up your latest essay. Then, when the laptop is closed, you can give your full attention to your child.  


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