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How to Balance a Family and Adult Education: Advice for Parents Returning to School

dad holding son on shoulders looking at the sky

It would be ideal if you could finish college, get a well-paying job, buy your own piece of property, and then have kids. However, in a world less than perfect, these stages of life can often overlap. One of the most difficult combinations to cope with is having a family and still going through the educational system.

Some people decide to start afresh after they have children, and so they must now balance a family and education. The best way to succeed at both is to understand the finer nuances of each side and be prepared to take action.

Be proud of your children

One of the worst mistakes you can make is to try and conceal the fact that you have a son and/or daughter. Inform your academic supervision the very first day that you’re a proud parent. The likelihood is that they are parents themselves, and they might be a little more empathetic towards you.

You might need to ask to take exams and do projects outside the regular schedule. If the person deciding your request at the university knows you’re a parent ahead of time, they might be more likely to grant our requests.

Health first!

Balancing the needs of your family and your academic career can get complicated. Whether it’s stress or fatigue that gets the better of you, keep in mind you cannot pursue any goal in life when you’re sick. That’s why your own health should be a priority for you.

Ask your spouse or the children’s grandparents to help out from time to time, not because you must write a conference paper but because you need to rest. Make sure you drink plenty of water and sleep 8 hours per night.

You’re not alone in this

There is nothing selfish in pursuing your degree while raising children. This is something that everyone in the family and your surroundings should understand and be supportive of. You shouldn’t feel alone in your mission to become educated.

Your friends and family will likely recognize your motivation and offer their help. Taking the kids to ice-cream for a mere hour would be a lifesaver if any of your friends or family were up to the task.

Don’t ask the children to sacrifice anything

Speaking of the children, you are the one who is ambitious, not them. Don’t make your education a cause for pain for the little ones. Quite the contrary, they should make the most of the time you will be absent.

For instance, you might want to get the kids some toys or electronics to play with while you are busy with school work to keep them occupied. However, getting to the store might prove to be a challenge with how busy you are. Good thing there is this thing called the internet. Online resources like BornCute can definitely help with these types of online purchases when you are in a pinch for time. It’s always a great idea to let the kids play while you’re attending lectures or doing coursework. It also makes it a little easier for the people you have babysitting the children when they have new fun stuff to play with. After a while, the children will be thrilled that you’re getting a better education because they will associate the word “education” with hours of fun.

Teaching the children to be independent

Apart from tablets, video games, and toys you should encourage your kids to be more independent while you’re away. Make up a list of chores they should do every day but also encourage them to go outside.

Perhaps you can pretend to order them to pick up the leaves in autumn, while in reality, you are granting them a license to have hours of fun outside. While you’re away at university, they can learn to recycle, tie their own shoes, dust, etc. You will both be learning simultaneously.

An itinerary saves the day

You need to understand that there is time for every single activity you like during the day. The trick is to schedule them in advance and then stick to the daily itinerary. This way, you’ll have time to play with your kids, study, and rest.

The key to balancing a family and adult education is not to perceive them as two contradictory activities, but rather as complimentary. When you leave the house to take an exam, the children don’t have to be bored but they can use the time to do some learning of their own.

For more great education tips, check out the other blogs on College Basics.