In addition to being a nontraditional student, you’re also trying to balance family life when you’re a parent heading back to school. Add these tips to the ones above to make the most of your college return:
- Explain to your kids what you’re doing. Even though you’re the one attending classes, your kids will be embarking on this journey with you. Share with them what you’re doing. Show them your class schedule, let them look at your textbooks, and explain what going back to college will help you accomplish. With your kids on board, it will help them and you make sure everything needed gets done.
- Enlist the help of family. It’s going to take the whole family to help you succeed in your new venture. You’re going to need their help with chores, making sure everyone gets where they need to be, and more. One way to ensure everyone is on the same page is to make lists: chores, dinner, and grocery, just to name a few. This will help coordinate efforts and make time as productive as possible.
- Make designated family time. As classes get going and the pressure of papers, tests, quizzes, and everything else heats up, the time can easily get away from you. To make sure this doesn’t happen, schedule family time on the calendar each day. Everyone can schedule the same time, and this will ensure the family doesn’t get neglected. It will also help with balancing your own personal well-being.
- Get organized. Before your classes start, make sure you get organized. Clear out a space that will be designated for you to study. Eliminate all distractions from that space, and try to get ahead when you can. Prepare lunches the night before so the morning isn’t chaotic, and work out a schedule with your spouse ahead of time to try and eliminate last-minute surprises.
- Ask for help. This one is somewhat related to previous tips, but when you embark on a back-to-school experience, you are going to need help. Don’t be shy in asking for help from family, friends, neighbors, or whomever else might be able to assist.
- Talk to your professors. One of the advantages of a school like Vista College is the smaller class sizes. This makes it easier to talk with your professors and classmates. Converse with your professors at the start of the term. Let them know you have children. That way, if you suddenly get called out of class or need to miss one due to some kind of event that couldn’t be rescheduled, it won’t be a surprise.
It can be tricky for either parent to find the needed time to attend classes and complete assignments, but in many cases, moms often have the most challenges with the elaborate balancing act they must complete every day. There are many online schools for moms, and Vista College is one that understands family time, and mom time, is precious. Here are some additional tips that either parent, but especially moms, may find helpful:
- Remember to take care of yourself. As a mom, you’re used to caring for everyone else, and it can already be difficult to find the time to take of yourself. Once you add in the element of school, finding that time becomes even more complicated, but it also becomes even more crucial. If you’re constantly running between everyone else’s needs and classes, you’ll hit the burnout point. Make sure you find time to recharge and to take care of your health. Eat well, exercise, and get as much rest as possible. Constantly burning the midnight oil will only make you burnout that much faster. Taking care of yourself will help you effectively tackle responsibilities and classes in the most efficient manner, and it can also help alleviate stress and illness.
- Look at the time you realistically have. There are only a certain number of hours in the day, and there’s only so much you can get done. Give yourself a break if something like cleaning or the dishes don’t get accomplished. If you can prioritize your time so your highly important responsibilities get completed, the other things that aren’t as high on the list can wait.
- It’s OK to say no. Many moms have a hard time saying no to requests to join things, volunteer on committees, or other day-to-day occurrences. When you’re trying to add college in to your list of responsibilities, attempting to do all the other things you’ve done before may cause you to crumble. Remember it’s all right to say no. You need to be in the best possible position to take care of your family and successfully complete your classes.
- Take it slow at the beginning. It can take time to figure out how to best work school into your schedule, so don’t be afraid to begin slow. Instead of loading yourself up from the get go, take two or three classes to start. This will help ease the transition and help you better gauge how to manage your time and complete everything you need to. It’s not a race. Even if it takes a little bit longer to complete the program, it’s worth it if it means keeping your sanity.
- Make sure you enjoy the experience. This is important for everyone, and especially moms. Remember that this is something you don’t necessarily have to do, so it should be something you enjoy. Celebrate the big things like doing well on a research paper or test, but also celebrate the little things – you finally understood a concept that was giving you trouble, or you completed a paper in record time. Include your kids in the celebration, too; it will help them and you feel like this is all worth it.
This content originally found on: vistacollege.edu