Finishing your degree is never easy. Looking after children while social distancing at home at the same time as studying can make it even more complicated! We asked our alumni participants in this years 30 Minutes a Month program for some advice around balancing study with raising children.
What’s the best way to study with children at home?…
Plan your day
Try to explain to the children that you are doing study, and that it’s important because it’ll help them get their next PlayStation game, or next holidays, or next birthday gift.
Chistopher Doring – (Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Diploma of Professional Practice (Co-op Engineering), 2016)
I don’t have kids; however, I have heard from others that putting together a schedule works wonders! Then you can allocate quiet time for the children and get into a routine when it is nap time to fit in some study. I have a close friend who would get up at 4.30am each morning to get her lesson planning done. What a champ!
Talia Fiyen – (Bachelor of Psychological Science, 2019)
Time management, it can be done! You just have to be more organised and structured and it may take a little longer to complete your degree.
If I can write my honours thesis with a 2 year old and a 2 week old anybody can.
Sharon Malliband – (Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours), 2016)
Explain to your children that you have to go to school and that your plans may change from time to time.
Darren Delaney – (Bachelor of Occupational Health and Safety, 2014, Master of Advanced Safety Science Practice, 2017)
Wait for the right time
Make sure you don’t leave things until the last minute as kids get sick at all the inconvenient times, usually the week all your assignments are due. After they go to sleep is a great time to study without interruption.
Guy McEntyre – (Bachelor of Laws, 2019)
Give them time
Kellie Wellard – (Bachelor of Learning Management, 2011)
I recommend studying before they get up or after they go to bed, send them outside to play for an hour to get some work done or if you can, have a family member watch them a couple of times a week to get some good study sessions in.
Makeeta Moody – (Bachelor of Multimedia Studies, 2017)
Make sure to set time aside to study when your children are asleep. Spend time with them while you can and use their sleep time to study without the children imposing on your study time. Make time to see your children and time to study.
Michael Lane – (Graduate Certificate in Management, 2014, Graduate Diploma of Management, 2015)
Ensure that they are cued into their role when you are studying.
This means that they have their snack, play space, technology organised, and they know that this is their time for activities which you are doing your activity.
Sharon Dekkers – (Master of Education Studies, 1994, Doctor of Philosophy, 2001)
Give kids a fun distraction
This is a challenging indeed and depends on the child’s age. If you have a partner, ask if they can supervise the kids for an hour or two while you study. If you are single parent, consider challenging the kids with a task, completing a puzzle, how many weeds can you put out of the back garden in 30 minutes, or utilise other support networks like family.
Nathan Graham – (Bachelor of Public Health, 2019)
Make sure they have plenty of activities to do. Give them a list. Let them know that if they want food what they can eat. Arrange your study breaks around when it is their main eating times so you can still enjoy a break together or study once they go to bed. Family time is still important.
Peta Bosomworth – (Bachelor of Education, 2000)
If your children are old enough, communicate with them your needs e.g. I will be studying for the next couple of hours, if you need something speak to mum/dad/sister/brother. For young children, there is nothing wrong with giving them an iPad or Tablet to entertain them whilst you are studying. Ask your family or friends to help with supervision if you can, even if they come over to your home to do this. Create a timetable outlining your e.g. study times, cleaning the house times, family time, playtime with kids etc and communicate this to your family.
Elisa Capaldi – (Bachelor of Nursing, 2015)
Want to give your advice to incoming students? Alumni can sign up to the 30 Minutes a Month program and complete monthly tasks to earn rewards while assisting future students in preparing for the learning journey ahead.