You’re not alone if you’re searching for study tips for parents in college.
This is especially true today, with the rapid spread of Covid-19 across the world.
A third of humanity is under lockdown. 160 countries have implemented nationwide closures, impacting 87% of the world’s student population.
So, if you’re like millions of people across the world, your kids are at home.
In a way, this is great because it’s your chance to form closer relationships with your family. You also get to teach your kids things they don’t learn at school: how to balance a checkbook, how to prepare a meal, or how to spring clean their room.
But if you’re a student parent, things can get difficult.
Your kids need constant attention, plus you’re struggling to turn in homework, attend online lectures, and study class material.
In this blog, we first lay down the difficulties of being a parent and going to college (especially when the kids are at home). Then, we explore 6 workable solutions that’ll make your study time productive and give you more time with your kids.
The Difficulties of Being a Parent Going to College While the Kids are Home
It’s one thing to have the kids at home all day on weekends.
It’s another thing to have them stuck in the house seven days a week.
Here are three problems you face when you must juggle being a parent and keeping up with your college class schedules and homework.
Your Kids Feel Bored and Confused without a Daily Schedule to Follow
Kids are used to following a schedule. They get up, go to school, meet friends, and come home to rest and do homework.
But with schools closing across the world, this schedule is disrupted. Your kids wake up to a long, unstructured day. While this feels like a vacation at first, it’ll soon transform into a cause for anxiety, boredom, and irritability.
Younger Kids Require Attention and Special Care
Imagine yourself preparing to attend an online lecture.
You set up your computer, log into your college’s online portal, and prepare your materials.
Suddenly, there’s a commotion coming from the kitchen. Your 6-year-old just dumped an entire bag of flour onto the kitchen floor!
How do you attend class and look after young kids at the same time?
Teenagers Don’t Want to Be Locked Down at Home with You
Raising teenagers is difficult on normal days. With teens and tweens, you need to strike a fine balance between respecting them and continuing to teach and raise them.
If your teens are home 24/7, things can get intense. They want to hang out with friends, but they’re trapped at home with the people they least want to be with at this stage of their lives.
Having a sulking teen at home distracts you from focusing your time and energy on your studies.
6 Helpful Tips for Parents in College: How to Structure Your Home Life So You and the Kids Continue Learning
With the right rules and time management, you’ll soon be able to get your home running like a well-oiled machine.
Follow these 6 study tips for parents in college to start.
1. Create a Routine
One huge challenge of a lockdown is the disruption of routine. Humans thrive with routine, partly because it gives a feeling of safety and purpose.
So, the first step to maintaining order at home is to create a routine for the whole family.
Here are great ideas you can put into play:
- Schedule a time for the kids to get up each morning.
- Make breakfast a special family time.
- Give kids their own “study time,” when they attend online classes or do homework.
- During your kids’ study time, find a quiet corner for yourself and focus on your college courses or your credit-by-exam preparations.
- Give kids enough time to play. Make them look forward to the “fun part” of the day.
- Don’t set too much time for each activity in your schedule. Breaking tasks into small chunks is an excellent idea.
2. Cut Your To-Do List in Half
With your kids at home 24/7, it’s just not possible to function normally. If you try to stick to your usual schedule, you’ll end up missing priorities and feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.
The key is to carefully go over your regular to-do list. Find items you can eliminate. For instance, if you clean your room every single day, switching to doing it every other day can give you more free time.
Cut your list in half, then cut that in half.
3. Make Use of Technology
Ever had a fight with your teen about how much time they spend on their phone? Or with your younger child about how many hours spent watching Netflix cartoons?
While technology can be an enemy during normal days, you can treat it as a friend during lockdown.
Remember, these days are exceptional. So, if you set your kids down in front of the TV or allow your tweens more screen time, that’s OK.
When they’re occupied and the house is quiet, you can sit down for uninterrupted study.
4. Designate Study Areas for You and Your Kids
You can all sit down at the dining table and study together like one big family. Right?
Not so fast.
Although it looks like a good time at first, studying with your kids is distracting. When they start fighting or plying you with a hundred questions, it’ll be impossible for you to focus on your material.
To counter this, set boundaries in the house. Create tiny workspaces where each member of the family can focus on work or study. Make these spaces comfortable. Set rules about entering each other’s private study zone.
5. Get Your Spouse Involved
Home quarantine means increased time with your spouse, and this can either be a good or bad thing.
On the bleak side, the spread of Covid-19 has caused a spike in divorce cases in China. Spending too much time in close quarters with a spouse can cause heated debates and resentment.
On the bright side, your spouse can be a huge help to you with your studies. If you make fair arrangements as to who will oversee the kids’ studies on different days, you’ll both have time to work or study.
Here are tips on making negotiations with a spouse:
- Set a schedule. Creating a fixed schedule on who will do the dishes, oversee the kids’ learning, and tidy up the kitchen will eliminate the need to argue when chores come up.
- Save the criticism for later. Want to lash out at your spouse? Remind yourself to do it after lockdown, when you both have more space and your regular lives back.
- Tell your partner what you need. Do you need 3 hours a day of focused study? Maybe you’re preparing for credit-for-exam and need 6 weeks to go over your material. The best thing to do is not to be vague. Tell your spouse directly what you need and when you need it.
6. Get Help
Are you struggling with your college classes or credit-by-exam preparations with the kids at home?
If so, it’s important to know you’re not alone. That’s why we created these study tips for parents in college.
Sometimes, all it takes is to speak to someone who understands. An expert who can guide you and help you take charge of your studies and preparations.
For instance, let’s say you’re preparing for a credit-by-exam like CLEP, UExcel, or DSST. You’ve decided to speed up graduation by skipping an entire college course when you take credit-by-exam.
But preparing for credit-by-exam requires intense concentration and specific knowledge on the tests. How can you do this plus take care of the kids?
If you’re looking around for help, the Smarter with Achieve team can help. We offer:
- One-on-one online tutoring
- Mentorship by an expert
- A library full of helpful hints
- Peer-to-peer mentoring
- Prep courses and practice exams
Making the Most of Being a Parent in College
Being a parent in college is tough in itself.
And with everything going on in the world today, it’s even tougher.
But you can turn things around with these study tips for parents in college. You can turn this difficult time into one that’ll not only further your studies but also bring your family closer together.
Would you like help earning college credits online during social distancing? To get started, click here and tell us about your college goals.