How Do You Balance Family Life and Studying for a Degree?

Considering a return to education when you’re a parent can be daunting – but there are more people already rising to the challenge than you realise! Here are some top tips for balancing a qualification and family life.

family sat around laptop

If you’re a parent considering a return to education, it’s important to first accept that studying for your degree will have an impact on your family life. However, whether this effect is positive or negative is really up to you.

With the right blend of time management and support, you can ensure that the positives outweigh the negatives, and your whole family benefit from you taking on this exciting challenge.

Online learning is providing students and professionals with families a chance that wouldn’t have been possible in the past. The flexibility of not having to attend on-campus lectures and exams means you choose your study schedule and fit it around your family commitments.

Here’s some tips on how you can manage studying your degree online whilst being a parent. 

Manage your time

It may sound obvious, but plan an achievable study schedule around your family and work life, that gives you the time for some peaceful, undisturbed quality study time. Work out what time of day works best for you, and value those hours to make sure you can concentrate on learning. Break your study down into manageable periods so you don’t get overwhelmed and enjoy these shorter intense periods of time. Remember to reward yourself with little treats - you’re working hard and doing great!

Don’t leave it until the last minute

Following on from the time management principle, not leaving things until the last minute will help reduce stress, which is not only good for you as a clear-thinking student, but also as a mum or dad. Make sure you complete your work a little way before the deadlines, so you’ll have time to go back and check your work without that last-minute rush.

Recognise the benefits for the whole family

You might be studying to change jobs, further your career prospects in your industry, or get a promotion to earn a higher salary. Whatever your motivation, there’s a good chance it’s to benefit your family as a whole, and it’s good to keep remembering when times get tough! Being a parent who decides to take on this exciting and rewarding challenge is a great way to inspire your family too, resulting in proud partners and children.

Connect and share your experiences

There’s a good chance you’re not the only one juggling family life and study on your course – indeed, you won’t be alone among other busy students at Arden University. Use your higher education peer group through the online forums, to talk about the challenges of juggling family, work and studying. Talking about it with others is a great way to get support and also offer and receive advice about how to effectively do it!

Student parents, past and present

Here’s what some of our students and alumni had to say about studying with us while raising their families.

“During the MBA course, I fell pregnant with twins. Life has been hectic since then and completing my MBA has been a great challenge – so the ability to study flexibly is incredibly valuable. With Arden, though, you get plenty of support. My tutors are easy to contact, including by Skype, unlike other institutions.”
Dominika Stevens, Master of Business Administration (MBA)

“I am a father to four children and I work full-time. Studying through Distance Learning means I can spend time with my children whilst continuing to earn money and study in my spare time so that I can eventually achieve my dream job.”
Peter Huszaros, BSc (Hons) Computing

“As a mum, I decided that a degree would be too much of a jump as I was not sure it would be possible to juggle alongside family life and work commitments. After lots of research I came across the Business Marketing HND with Arden University and decided this was a course that really suited my needs. It was achievable in two years if studied part-time and offered a very flexible programme which meant I could study when I wanted to and all online.
I feel very honoured to be studying whilst working and bringing up a family. It is very hard to say the least but when I get amazing grades and feedback it all makes it so worthwhile.”

Laura Benson, BA (Hons) Business (Marketing) Top-Up

“Going back to full-time education became almost impossible as I had a family, mortgage and all the other trappings and distractions of modern family life. Then through an online search, I discovered Arden University. They offered a BA Hons in Graphic Design that was flexible and could be studied from home.”
Martin Lithgow, BA (Hons) Graphic Design