Whether you’re an internal or distance education student, juggling the demands of a young family while studying is one of the greatest challenges you can face in your journey as a student.
Here are four helpful tips to keep you on track with your education, while raising a happy, healthy family.
Stick to a schedule
While adhering to a schedule is crucial to keeping your family well-fed and well-slept, it is an absolute necessity when you need to pencil in some serious study time as well. With small children, it can be very difficult to find the time for getting anything productive done during the day, but it is possible to carve out small chunks of time to do your readings, some referencing or a few module exercises.
If you’re a morning person, get up an hour early and hit the books, or if you’re lucky enough to still have that precious hour of nap time in the afternoon, sit down with your textbook and a cuppa and use your time productively. Alternatively, if you have a stubborn three year old who doesn’t think they need a nap anymore, move bedtime forward half an hour, and be prepared to sit down at your desk as soon as their little head hits the pillow.
Gone are the days of pulling an all-nighter to finish off an assessment when you’re a mum or dad to young kids. Planning ahead for all your assessments can really help you keep on top of your workload and submit a highly-polished piece of work on time. Start your assignments as soon as you can – if the modules and assessment information is released before the start of session, familiarise yourself with the requirements and make a strong plan over the allotted time before the due date.
This can be as simple or detailed as you like, but make sure you leave plenty of time for research at the beginning, as well as lots of proofreading and editing in the end stages. If your kids have any major commitments coming up, consider these when allocating your assessment workload to avoid stress or ill preparation.
Declutter your home
It might sound counter-productive to spend your valuable study time decluttering and organising your home, but it is well-documented that a cluttered space restricts your productivity and creative flow. A clean, well-organised and minimalist space, however, will encourage you to focus while reducing the time you’ll spend on cleaning up.
If you need a little help getting motivated or maintaining direction with your decluttering, check out Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – the KonMari method has helped me to thoroughly organise my home and study space, and prevents you from falling back into the trap of collecting clutter in the future.
Give yourself a break
Taking some time out to relax and rejuvenate regularly fuels you emotionally, mentally and spiritually. This will enable you to participate more completely in your own life, and be present for your family and friends. A little down time will also prepare you for your studies, and give you the confidence and energy to tackle even the most difficult assessments.
Schedule in some ‘me-time’ every week. You don’t need to be an expensive spa treatment to rejuvenate yourself – take a bath with some of your favourite music and essential oils; watch a funny movie; do some yoga or meditate or go for a long scenic walk. When you come back to reality, you’ll be ready to pick those balls up and get back to juggling like a superstar.