There are often blogs written about how to participate in your kids’ studies – but what about including them in yours? If you have a family and are taking a full or part-time course and are working from home, chances are your study-time overlaps with looking after your children.
Depending on their age, they will likely have questions about what you’re doing and why – and although the subject matter may be over their heads, involving them in the process could actually benefit all of you. With many students now continuing their studies digitally, we’ve put together some tips to get parents studying at home started.
TIP 1: Include them in the planning
We’ve spoken before about the importance of planning, especially when it comes to exams or assessments. It’s always good to have a schedule to start from even if you sometimes can’t stick to it – as any parent will already know! These don’t have to be bland spreadsheets, they can be colourful and fun, which is where your children come in. Ask them to help you by cutting out colourful squares to represent different tasks, or to paint a background for you to stick your schedule onto. You can explain to them what the assigned time slots mean, which may also help them to respect your study time. You can even include activities they can do while you are reading up for your next seminar – we can’t promise they’ll always stick to the plan, but at least they will understand it a little better.
TIP 2: Teach them to help you learn
Learning by teaching is an accepted and widely used method in education – it’s why you are asked to do presentations to classmates. As one study puts it, “Students who spend time teaching what they’ve learned go on to show better understanding and knowledge retention than students who simply spend the same time re-studying.” Your degree may not be on a subject that young children can easily understand (or are particularly interested in!), but by reforming complex concepts into simpler ideas to make them interesting or entertaining to your kids may help you learn those ideas more effectively. How much you can do this may vary based on your course and the age of your kids, however, there is likely to be at least one aspect that you can share with them. They may not retain the lesson, but you will!
TIP 3: Ask them to contribute to your study space
You may want to keep home life and education separate for the most part but allowing your children a window into your academic world will help them understand how you’re spending your time – it could even spark some excitement for their future studies! If you’re studying remotely or part-time or working from home, you will probably have a little area in your house dedicated to work. You might (understandably) want to keep this a child-free zone as much as possible, but you can make your kids feel included by asking them to make you something to decorate it. It can be as simple as a paper chain or could be a plant pot they make at school; like the study schedule, this should hopefully make them feel like they are a part of the space and keep them from invading it too often. It could even keep them busy while you’re working.
Finally, seeing you work hard for something you want and continuing to learn at the same time as looking after a family is a wonderful example to set for your children. Letting them be part of it could help their own work ethic and give them a fantastic role model to look up to.