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Surviving College with Children

Published on September 15, 2016 by Staff Writer

Being a parent is the hardest job in the world. Being a college student is the second hardest. When you are focused on being the best you can be while balancing both of these roles at the same time, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. One key to success is staying focused on your career goals and the benefits that obtaining your college degree will provide for your family. Just as you would encourage your children to make it through a tough time, don’t hesitate to provide yourself with some positive self-talk when you are having a bad day. Here are several additional strategies you can use to help you survive college while raising children:

Instead of framing the idea that you are setting an example for your children as another reason to be stressed about your college experience, use it as a way to center and motivate yourself. Your children aren’t going to know if you make a lower grade than you want on a certain assignment or if you don’t get all of your reading done for class. When they look back and think about the time you were enrolled in college, they won’t remember the project that you worked on or the group assignment that wasn’t going as planned. Instead, they will remember how you handled the experience. They will remember if college seemed manageable to you. So, when you are tempted to get frustrated and tense about what is going wrong with your day or your semester, take a moment to remember that this too shall pass. Set an example for your children that everything is manageable if you keep calm.

It is inevitable that your college experience will require you to miss some, or possibly many, events that your child may have. From recitals to football games, you aren’t going to be able to attend everything. Even sitting down for family dinner may become difficult at some points during the semester. Instead of assuming that your younger child is unable to understand why you can’t be there or that your older child doesn’t care if you are there or not, take time out now and then to remind your children of your goals. Explain to them that you are sorry you are missing events now but that your goal is to obtain a better job and spend more time with them. Schedule time to spend with them when you aren’t as busy so you can give them your one-on-one attention. Communication is essential, and you want your children to have a clear understanding that they are important enough to be involved in your time management decisions.

When your children bring home good reports from day care or good grades at school, they are given a reward or otherwise congratulated on their success. When you make a good grade on a project or test, involve your children in the celebration. Post your paper on the refrigerator. These celebrations will help them to understand that your school experience is a lot like their own.

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