You’ve taken big steps toward building a better life for yourself and your family. But the craziness of balancing kids, school, and perhaps even a job can make life interesting at times.
Use these tips to survive going to college while raising kids.
Get to know all your childcare options.
Whether the kids are toddling in diapers or navigating middle school halls, you may have more options than you realize. In addition to private daycare options, you may have access to wrap-around or afterschool programs at your child’s school or a local rec center. These programs often feature reasonable rates, making the cost of childcare less of a burden.
Some colleges have on-campus childcare. Others may offer subsidies or scholarships for adult students in need of childcare, so talk with your school’s student services to learn more.
Other ways to access childcare at reasonable rates so you can attend school include:
Communicate with your professors.
If you’re enrolled in a school program geared toward adult learners, the professors and facilitators likely already understand the time crunch that comes with going to college while raising kids.
However, if you’re in a traditional four-year program filled with child-free undergrads, you’ll want to make a point to talk with your professors before and while you encounter challenges, like a sick child. Ideally, they’ll be sympathetic and give you wiggle room they might not be as willing to grant the undergrad constantly dozing off in the front row.
Make the slow cooker your friend.
It’s oh-so-easy to get stuck in an unhealthy—and expensive—takeout habit when you’re going to school while raising children. The slow cooker is a smart way to have a warm, delicious dinner that’s ready to serve when you get home. Plus, since these recipes tend to produce many servings, you may end up with leftovers you can serve the following day or freeze for a no-hassle future meal.
Use travel time as learning time.
Public and shared transportation isn’t always feasible, especially in rural or suburban areas. However, if you can take advantage of carpools, buses, or subways, do so. Use the travel time to study, read assignments, or complete homework. Or use the extra time to tackle other tasks, like creating to-do lists or answering emails.
Take time for yourself.
There’s no question about it: If you’re going to survive college and kids with your sanity intact, this is a must-do. Find a way to relax that works for you. It might be waking up 15 minutes before everyone else to savor coffee or asking family to give you gift cards for the holidays so you can indulge in a manicure, spa treatment, or night out.
Lower the stress of college costs by applying for interest-free student loans.
Paying for school is a big concern for many adult learners. Unlike interest-bearing loans, with no-interest student loans you only repay the amount of the loan itself, which can save you hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in interest costs.
Lancaster Dollars for Higher Learning offers interest-free student loans to eligible Lancaster County, PA residents attending accredited schools. Learn more about our program, which awarded 489 interest-free student loans for the 2017-2018 academic year.
You can do this!
Going to college while raising kids isn’t always an easy path. And that’s okay. You’re working hard to obtain an education that will give your family new opportunities. After graduation, you’ll look back on this crazy time—and you’ll be glad you did it.