Thursday, January 5, 2012

Balancing Parenthood And Your College Education

If you are a parent returning to college after a hiatus, you are likely overwhelmed by your responsibilities. Since you were last in school, you started a family and now have one or more children! Whether you are completing the degree that you started or working on a second degree, your college experience will be a bit different this time around. Fortunately, there are ways to prepare for your new life as both a parent and a student.
If your child is older, you should take the time to discuss your college education with him or her. Your child will likely be affected by your new busy schedule, especially if you are trying to balance work and childcare with a part-time or even full-time job! It is important that your child understands that this is a temporary situation, but is also an exciting and important time for you. Remember that you will be setting a good example for your child about the value of an education.
As a new student, it will be important to manage your time so that you can complete all homework assignments and exam preparation. If you have a spouse, he or she may be able to help you by taking over household chores and childcare responsibilities while you complete your work.
If you are a single parent, you'll have to be much more flexible than the average student. Getting up early to complete assignments before your child is awake or studying late at night while he or she is asleep may be necessary in order to balance your duties as a student with your life as a parent. If your child is of school-age, maybe you can even do homework together.
Depending on your school, you may be able to take advantage of low-cost childcare options. If your college does not have a daycare, you may be able to find a trusted student who could babysit for you while you are in your classes. Many younger college students babysit to earn some extra money, and you will have the peace of mind of being close to your child while you are attending class.
Most colleges that cater to returning adult students offer nighttime and weekend classes, so that you can attend school while your spouse, family member, or babysitter looks after your children. You'll also have the benefit of attending college with older, returning students who are in a similar situation and likely have children too!
Make sure you set aside some time to be with your child each day, even though it may be hard to clear free time in your busy schedule simply to play and interact with him or her. Especially if you have younger children, this bonding time is important to both you and your kids. Take the time to play a game or read a bedtime story. You won't want to miss out on his or her childhood, even though your education is important.

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