My Personal Experience of Studying While Parenting a Toddler

by - 7:56 AM

Studying while parenting a toddler is no easy feat, but it's a journey that I've been on personally and I'm here to share all the ups and downs, the challenges and the triumphs. If you have children yourself you'll understand that parenting in itself is a full-time job- so when you add studying to the mix, it can feel like you're juggling a million things at once. But, as I've come to learn, it's all about finding a balance, taking things one day at a time and making sure to take care of yourself too. I have a beautiful toddler daughter and as you can imagine, she's my world. But as much as I love being a mum, I also wanted to further my education and pursue my passion for learning. And so, I took on the challenge of studying for a diploma online while also raising a little human. Here's my advice if you're planning on doing the same. 

Finding time to study
We all know that time is a precious commodity when you're a parent, so finding time to study can be a real challenge. I found that staying up a little later to study when my daughter was asleep worked well for me, her bedtime is 7pm so I had a good few hours each evening to work through everything without getting to bed too late myself. That way I was able to focus on my studies without any interruptions and maintain a slightly clearer mind (as clear as it can be as the parent of toddler!) You could consider studying during your child's naps or while they're occupied with an activity, such as playing or eating their lunch. While this did take a chunk out of my downtime, I reminded myself that this wasn't forever and kept pushing on. The main issue I had with this was that I had to find time during the day to do the jobs I was previously doing in the evening. But staying organised and keeping to a schedule as much as possible helped.

Short study sessions
One of the things that I found helpful for balancing parenting and studying was utilising short study sessions. This allowed me to make progress without sacrificing too much time with my daughter. Breaking my studying down into manageable tasks was also helpful- instead of trying to do everything at once, I would focus on one assignment or chapter at a time, making the process less daunting and helping me to stay motivated and on track. Be realistic about what you can achieve each day, if you can only study for fifteen minutes a time then work this into your overall study schedule. The beauty of online learning is that it is flexible so it's totally doable breaking it down this way. 

Enlisting help from family and friends
Balancing parenting and studying becomes a lot easier with the help of family and friends. I was able to enlist the help of my husband, who would always take over with the care of our daughter on his days off while I studied. My friends also helped every now and again by taking turns babysitting, which allowed me to attend my online classes and study without any distractions. While not everyone is lucky enough to have this kind of support, don't be afraid to ask for help if you do have people in your life who you think would step up for you. Spending time with others can be great for your child's social development too, previously she was only ever really with me or my husband the majority of the time. 

Taking it one day at a time
Finally, I want to emphasise the importance of taking it one day at a time. Studying while parenting a toddler can be overwhelming, but it's important to remember that progress is made one day at a time.  Not every day will be a huge success, the nature of parenting a small child is that they're unpredictable and that means your days are unpredictable. Just keep on trying, and if one day is a bust when it comes to your learning then try again the next. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may be, and be proud of yourself for making the effort to better yourself and your family's future.

If you're a parent who is thinking of studying around parenting, don't let the challenges hold you back. With a little bit of effort and support, you really can make it work.

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