If you’re a parent, chances are you’re already a master at organization, leadership, conflict resolution, and time management. Which is great news when you’re going back to nursing school as a Mom! But preparing your children for the demands pursuing an accelerated nursing degree will put on you can feel daunting—especially if you have little ones who are not accustomed to sharing your time and attention.
Below are a few suggestions for helping your kids understand and accept what it means for Mom or Dad to go back to school.
1. Set expectations early.
Begin talking to your kids about school as soon as you’re admitted, telling them what you’ll be doing, why you’re excited about it and what it means to you to become a nurse. Offer frequent observations about how life might change after you begin the program. Things like, “Dad will get to pick you up from practice once I start school,” or “You’ll get a little extra TV/computer time when I’m studying.” Focus on the positive changes, and describe them in a way that’s relevant to kid life.
2. Establish new routines.
Nursing school can be hectic and unpredictable, but if you establish regular routines, you and your family will know what to expect. Block out study time at the same time every day, and let the kids know you’re inaccessible then.
Find a quiet place in the house where you can get work done, and establish it as your “do not disturb” zone. Add fun routines too like driving the kids to school instead of having them ride the bus on days when you have a late start or declaring every exam day a family ice cream night!
3. Be strict with your time.
Once you establish routines and figure out a way to compartmentalize your time, stick with your plan. No exceptions. Otherwise, little distractions will turn into big ones, and it will become all too easy for your plan to get derailed.
This applies to non-school time too. For those times you’ve set aside to be with your family, put the pressures of school out of your mind and do your best to live in the moment.
4. Involve your kids in the excitement.
Help them understand why it’s important to you to become a nurse and how you’ll be able to make a difference in people’s lives. Take them to a hospital and show them some of the things nurses do. Give them a tour of your skills lab. Tell them interesting stories about your patients. Talk to them in kid terms about what you’re learning and why it’s interesting.
Let them celebrate your successes with you—the end of a difficult course, a good exam score, an inspiring patient encounter—and find ways for them to feel like they’re supporting you.
There’s no reason nursing school can’t be a family experience!
Finally, don’t forget that one of the most valuable aspects of the accelerated nursing program at Marian University is the bond you forge with your classmates. Don’t hesitate to seek out the other parents and ask them for tips about balancing school with family life. You may even find that there are things you can do as a group to make the adjustment easier and set both you and your family up for success.
Ready to go back to school? Contact us by calling 866.892.6463 or submitting this form.