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Study tips for busy parents

Posted on 14/10/2015 by
Studying with kids isn't easy, but with the right support and techniques, it is definitely possible.

Studying with kids isn’t easy, but with the right support and techniques, it is definitely possible.

As anyone with children knows, being a parent is a full-time job in itself! Yet many of our students have kids and study part-time in between nappy changes, school runs and the odd tantrum. It’s not easy, but it is possible – and, with the right approach, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

Every situation is different, but there are a few tried and tested techniques for juggling study and kids. We rounded up some of the best tips:

1. Create your own study space

Having a study space where you can keep all of your notes, books and study material will help you stay organised and focused. Now for the hard part – finding the space.

For those of you who are lucky enough to have a home office, you can skip to tip #2! If you don’t have a spare bedroom, never fear – there are plenty of other places you can put a desk. You may just have to get a little creative.

Take inspiration from Michelle, a Study From Home student who converted her bedroom wardrobe into an office, creating a private distraction-free retreat from the rest of the house. Talk about Kiwi ingenuity! Maybe there is a space in your home where you could do something similar.

2. Stick to your study schedule

Once you have set aside time to study, do everything you can to stick to this. It may be tempting to use this time to tick other things off your list, such as household chores, but study needs to take priority. Sticking to your schedule will help you stay on top of your workload, and also reduce feelings of guilt or anxiety that may strike if you are procrastinating instead of studying.

If something urgent comes up, try to make up for lost time later in the day or week. It’s not always easy, but falling behind is a lot harder! Do whatever you can to stay motivated and focused, whether it’s rewarding yourself with little treats after each study session, or practicing a daily positive mantra.

3. Make the most of your time

Time? What time? We know this is what you’re probably thinking. One thing’s for sure: studying parents need to get very creative with their time! Try to identify moments throughout your day that you could squeeze in a little bit of study. This might mean waking up an hour earlier while the kids are still asleep, or going over some notes while they have their afternoon nap.

You may have to sacrifice a few things during your course, such as watching your favourite television program or reading non-study related material. But remember: it’s not forever. A few small sacrifices now will make for a better future.

4. Seek support from friends and family

It can be hard to ask for help, but that’s what friends and family are for. Studying with children is much easier when you have a strong support network. Be sure to talk to your close ones about your plans before you enrol on a course, and see if they might have the time to take care of the kids every now and then.

Another great source of support is other studying parents. They know what it is like more than anyone, and you will be able to lean on each other for moral support during busy periods. Maybe you could even help each other out with childcare from time to time.

5. Look after your health

This is quite possibly the most important tip – in order to effectively balance study and kids, you need to be healthy and energised. No matter how motivated you are, you will struggle to study if you are feeling sick and exhausted.

If you get enough sleep and eat well, you will likely find you have more energy and focus. So even though it may seem productive to study late into the night, you might actually get more done by waking early after a good sleep. And for times when sleep just isn’t an option– there’s always coffee!

Can you add any study tips to this list? If you are a busy parent and have juggled kids with studying, we’d love to hear your suggestions.

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