More and more adults are returning to college, for various reasons. It may be to gain skills or credentials to move ahead in their career. Perhaps they’ve decided a college education is required to change jobs or to find a better paying career. Whatever the reason, it’s likely that many of these returning students have children. Being a student is a job in and of itself. Adding family and work responsibilties makes it even more of a juggling act.
It certainly can be done, but you’ll need to be creative and resourceful when approaching study time if there are young children in your life. Even traditional aged students with little brothers or sisters can benefit from learning some tactics to studying with children underfoot.
Give Them Attention
This is a lesson I’ve learned personally as a work-at-home mom. No matter what pressing deadlines you have, assignments that are due, or projects that are looming, it’s important to tend to your children first. By taking time to interact with them, find out about their day, and settle in at home, you’ll be setting the stage for a more productive study session later. You’re only one person. You can’t be in a dozen places at once, so be with your kids in the moment. Be sure to explain that later you will need study time in which to concentrate and not be interrupted. But don’t drive yourself nuts by trying to focus on homework and the kids. It will only lead to stress and frustration.
That’s not to say the kids can’t be in the room while you’re studying. If you have school-aged children, you can always sit down to study together. This sets a good example for them. Seeing mom, dad, or big sibling doing their school work sends a powerful message. If your children are small, sit them down with some coloring pages or small art project to work on while you get some of your own work done. You could even give them small household tasks to keep them busy while you’re studying. Get creative!
Let Them Watch TV
I know it’s said that too much TV will rot their brains, but if you allow television watching in your home, have them take some time unwinding in front of the tube while you work on your studies nearby. I’m not saying to use the TV as a babysitter, but in moderation, it can be a very useful tool for helping you to find some much-needed study time, and it can be a nice, laid back activity for them. After television time, you can all sit down to play a game together or engage in some other activity as a family.
These are just some ideas to get you thinking and to show you that there are ways to make studying with children a possibility. What are some things you do to fit in study time with kids in the house?