We’d love to hear your comments about your own personal study time strategies, but we’d thought we’d share some ideas. The strategies you adopt will depend on the age of your kids and your personal schedule; but we believe it’s very possible to combine valuable study time and quality time with children.
- Clever School Scheduling – If you can find a way to build in some added time to your ‘school day’, that can help you sneak in an extra hour of study time. You can find that hour by arriving 30 minutes before class and leaving 30 minutes after your last class – if your child minder or child’s school schedule allows.
- Do Your Best to Focus – When you get home, focus on one thing at a time. Focus on your kids first, give them all your attention for a while. Ask about them and their day, play with them, help them with their homework, but then tell them you have some important homework to do and need some quiet time. Then focus exclusively on that.
- Kids Love Routines – If your kids know that you’ll be studying everyday between certain times, and during that time they get to watch a special TV program or play their favorite game, then you get that peace and quiet you need. Set a routine or a schedule and enforce it.
- Planning Makes Perfect – Give your child certain creative things to do, or creative toys to play with, that they only get when you’re studying – maybe it’s coloring books, or silly putty, or bricks. They may start to look forward to this special play time, making it easier for you to get studying.
- Educational DVDs – Putting your child in front of a TV is not ideal, but if you have no other choice, make sure they’re watching an educational DVD or educational programming. It needs to be fun to retain their attention, but if they’re learning something you’ll both feel better about this option.
- Involve Them When You Can – Kids are inquisitive, and depending on their age, they may be more help than you think. If you’re trying to learn anatomy, names of bones for example, have fun with them and engage them in what you’re doing. Maybe have them hold flash cards to test your memory – Play ‘school’ and have them play the role of teacher; give them questions to ask you.
- Talk To Them – Tell your child how important your studying is for both of you, and how much you appreciate their help and cooperation. Reward them when they’re quiet. You might be surprised, age dependent, on how involved they’ll become and how motivated they will be by your success.
- Set Them Up For Success – Set up a desk or a work station just like yours. Have them do their homework while you do yours…but be sure to include study breaks as their attention span is likely to be shorter than yours.
- It’s not Bribery…It’s Incentivizing! – Just like ‘grown-ups’, children like to be rewarded for doing something then don’t really want to! Would you go to work without getting paid? Reward your kids for keeping to the schedule you set; every 30 minutes of quiet time = one credit. A certain number of credits equals a treat – regular smaller treats, or a bigger reward like a trip to the zoo. Keep a visual record somewhere prominent, like on the refrigerator, so they can see their progress.
These strategies, or a combination of them, may well prove to be successful for you and your children. But remember, no matter how important your studies are to you, you child’s safety must always come first. Never leave your children without adequate supervision, or in a potentially unsafe situation.