2. Snatch small moments, often
As a parent, you’ll have an in-depth understanding of that precious commodity that people without kids have in abundance and never seem to really appreciate: free time.
When you’re raising kids, every minute of your day can feel like it’s scripted, leaving not much time for anything else, especially if you have young children under the age of four or five who need pretty much constant supervision.
That obviously doesn’t leave much time for study.
One of the best strategies that you can use to find the time to complete your course is to take advantage of those small moments of free time that come fleetingly. Basically, the trick here is to use small pockets of time, productively. The technical term given to this way of approaching studying is microlearning.
Microlearning is essentially a form of study that sees a learner dealing with information in short, bite-sized chunks in 3 to 5 minutes sections. As this great article by eduMe explores, microlearning aims to mimic the way that we engage with social media: processing information in short chunks in short sessions.
For example, if you’ve got an infant and they have a pretty regular nap schedule, using that time to study can be a useful way to keep on top of your studies. Likewise, if your child has a fairly predictable bedtime, you can use some of the time available after that to study your course.
With research suggesting that there is a widespread perception that attention spans are shortening, due in part to the way that we engage with digital media, microlearning can be a practical way to complete your learning if you find it hard to engage with large amounts of information at once.
3. Build a support network
There’s a famous African proverb that says ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. In other words, it takes the input of the entire community for a child to be raised in a loving, safe and nurturing environment. Networks of care are absolutely essential when it comes to raising children, helping to share some of the labour of being a parent and giving caregivers a chance to rest and recover.
Building a support network can really help you grab that dedicated independent time you’ll need to really make the most out of your study. Usually, support systems like these take the form of family networks, like grandparents or your siblings helping out with childcare, but sometimes they take the form of extended families and friends lending a hand too. They are people that you can call on to give you some help with childcare when you need it.
Having a strong, informal support network that you can call on for practical support and advice is a lifeline to many families up and down the country – particularly when it comes to combining study with raising a family.
As a parent, there’s a strong likelihood that one of the reasons you’re wanting to study a professional qualification is to improve your overall quality of life, and by extension, the life of your child. Asking others to help you realise this goal isn’t something that you should feel awkward about. Usually, most people will be glad to help out.