Raising kids isn’t easy, especially while studying. Here are some of our tips for managing both at the same time.
The prospect of studying and parenting at the same time is daunting. One is hard enough without the other. But it is possible; every year there are plenty of student parents who graduate and excel. Approach it with a collected mind, take the tips below on board, and you’ll succeed.
What support is available for studying parents?
Your university may have services available to help you with childcare, such as a creche or holiday play schemes. Look out for any parents’ societies where you can connect with other student parents.
If you’re claiming student finance, there is a parents’ learning allowance scheme. This is a grant that you don’t have to pay back and is based on your household income. Full-time students can get up to £1,863 added to their student loan each year.
Communicate and plan
Clear lines of communication with your lecturers will help in the event that you end up missing classes. They have often seen student parents in these situations and will be understanding. Mention that you’re a parent or someone who is expecting a child at the beginning of your module and they should be more willing to help should your performance be affected by parenthood.
At the beginning of each term, plan everything out. Get to know your syllabus in advance, so you’ll know what’s expected of you. Don’t leave things until the last minute. If you get ahead of your studies, unexpected circumstances will have less of an impact on your grades. Timetable your family activities so you can effectively plan around them.
A good idea is to stay behind at uni to get some of the work done. Spend an hour or two reading or getting ahead on assignments. This way, once you get home, you can have your family time.
A good support system can make your experience easier. Find reliable classmates that you can share notes with in the event that you can’t make it to a class. See there’s a course Whatsapp group where notes and ideas are shared.
Making friends with other student parents is also a good idea, so you can arrange to look after each other's children when your studies aren’t overlapping. It may take some organising but you’ll be able to make more time to focus on your studies.
With multiple responsibilities, you want to avoid burnout. You can do this by making sure you have time for yourself. Take time to exercise, watch a TV show, or sit down with a coffee. Even small breaks taken in between other activities can stop you from burning yourself out.
It’s also important to not take on too much. You’re doing this for yourself and your family. You don’t have to take on everything that’s offered to you. Don’t add unnecessary stress.
If it ever does feel like too much, remember why you’re doing it. You should be proud of yourself for the bravery needed to take on this challenge.
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