Like so many worthwhile things in life, the work required to successfully become a nurse takes serious dedication. If you’re currently in a nursing program, you know the demands don’t always stop when you step in the door of your home at the end of a shift — which can be extra tricky for parents. But there are a handful of ways to get your study routine in sync with all the tasks required of being a parent. Here’s how to study like a pro in the midst of mealtime, playtime, and every other part of your busy and rewarding life as a parent in nursing school.
In order to keep yourself from barreling through a night of cooking, cleaning, kids’ homework, and more without making time to study, schedule your evenings and weekends out ahead of time. Your workload is important enough to keep a time slot reserved, and it’ll help you really focus in when you’ve made the commitment to do so.
You could schedule your studies in multiple hour chunks during your kids’ sports practices or music lessons. On the other hand, it might suit your lifestyle best to aim for short 15-minute bursts of studying every hour while focusing on a few other projects in tandem. Only you know what scheduling practice will work just right for you, but you’re much more likely to prioritize your schoolwork when you have specific times in mind.
Depending on the age of your child, they might not be ready to grasp why mom or dad needs to sit quietly in a pile of books, notes, and a laptop for hours on end. As all parents know, it’s easier to set boundaries and get an allotted amount of uninterrupted time when your kids know something great is at the other end of all that waiting. Plus, reward systems help students just as much as they help their children cope with study time.
Let your kids know that you won’t be studying until the end of foreseeable time, and give them a fun treat or activity to look forward to once you’re done. This can even be a great way to start new traditions, such as reading a favorite story on certain nights of the week or going for a quick pre-dinner stroll through the park.
Related Resource: How to Balance Nursing School With Work and Family Life
You never know all the ways you inspire your kids. Tell them about why you’re studying to become a nurse, and all the ways in which nurses help make the world a better place. You might lay the foundation for some fun inquiries into your children’s hopes and dreams for their own future careers. If they have some background information on why you’re paying attention to your work, it can be fun for them to have their own kid-friendly “studying” session.
Arrange for your study time to be their hobby time. It might give your kids a chance to pursue a new interest, like reading up on animal facts, breaking out the arts and crafts, or building model ships or airplanes. Getting your kids involved in a structured project of their own in the same study space can help both parties get some focused time.
Remember: As a nursing student with kids, you’re not alone. Reach out to your classmates to see if any of them are also looking for creative ways to balance study time and childcare. Study groups are beneficial in a number of ways. They help you stay accountable to your educational goals, keep procrastination from creeping in, and make studying a fun, social activity.
Form a study group with your fellow nursing school parents so you can all bring your kids along. This will help you build a sense of community in your program as well. You might be willing to host the group at your house, or trade off locations from week to week with other members. When you look to your fellow nurses-to-be for inspiration and support, you might find putting your heads together on the issue results in a wonderful solution that fits everyone’s schedules.