Getting a degree with young kids at home can be quite the juggling act for a full-time parent. There are many challenges which can arise during this journey. For instance, it is often difficult to study, research or type out papers and other assignments with children banging at the keyboard or climbing in and out of your lap.
Despite these interruptions, it is possible to get a degree with young kids at home if you really want to achieve getting that degree. It does take a bit of effort through routine, creating work space, time management, and willingness to accept help.
4 College Degree Tips for Moms With Young Kids
Set a Routine
In order to be successful in your education it is vital you have time for study and to complete assignments. Wherever possible, try and set a regular routine for getting this done.
A good way to accomplish this during the day hours is to take advantage of children’s nap times if they are still napping. It is tempting to sit back and relax or get those chores done while kids are sleeping, but fight these urges and use this as regular study time instead. If your kids are too active during the day, you’ll have to find another study time. The messes will still be there, but deadlines don’t wait.
When your kids go to bed, this may be a good time, but you may not be as alert, especially after a busy day. Better off doing your cleaning or other chores at this time. Especially if you are the type of person who has difficulty focusing after a long day. What I found worked for me was to go to bed earlier and then wake up before the household. This was a great time of the day for quiet time with clear focus.
It doesn’t matter when you do choose to dedicate to coursework, what’s most important is you have dedicated time set aside at a time that works best for you. Try and see if you can carve some hours alone without distraction or interruption.
Separate Work Area
Desk organizer by Deco Brothers on Amazon.com (click image for more details)
A separate work area is another key to success. You’ll ideally want a spot where you aren’t distracted by household bills, magazines, children’s toys, books or other visual distractions that may keep you from being able to focus.
See if you can find a desk, table, or even a bookshelf to strictly dedicate to your work materials. This way your stuff is organized and you’ll always be able to find it without having to worry about little hands getting their curiosity into one of your books with a crayon, or worse, shredding or coloring over your notes. If you are tight for space, a desk organizer can help, especially if you are only taking one or two classes because you can slide your books in along with your other folders, notebooks and other school-related materials.
Multi-task Your Time
While waiting for children to come out of school, camp or extracurricular activities, see if you can make a habit to bring a book or your notes with you. Any time you can essentially “double up” and accomplish two things at once without sacrificing quality will help get you another step closer to that degree without the stress.
When running a house you’re probably used to taking charge and it is often hard to admit you need help. Don’t let pride get in the way. If a friend, family member, neighbor or anyone else offers to give you a hand so you have some extra study time, accept their offer. Additionally, try to recruit your spouse to give you some private time you can dedicate to study or to get assignments done. Raising children and pursuing a college degree can be a difficult balance at times and if you have help, this will relieve some of the stress.
Whether you are contemplating going back to school or you are already back at school you know there will be some challenges associated with being a full time parent and taking classes. If this disheartens you, don’t lose heart or give up.
Getting geared up to go back to school takes a bit of work, but it is entirely possible to pursue a college degree with young kids at home. Once you get in the swing of things, it all falls into place and you’ll have such a rewarding feeling when you graduate.
Leigh has been writing on the web since 2007. She has a high interest in business, tech, higher education, and Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia travel, but loves to write about a variety of topics. In addition to writing on Writedge, she also runs a blog about the Washington DC Metro Area and a photography blog Photos by Leigh Goessl.