School and Parenting
By continuing your education you are ensuring that you will have many opportunities in your future. It also gives you a chance to spend some time with your friends and do the things that other teenagers do. Being a parent and managing school/college too can be a challenge. You now need to think of your baby’s needs, as well as your own. This can be done with some planning in advance. It will take time to get into a routine but stick with it, yours and your baby's future will be worth it. The list below may offer some hints on how to juggle the important roles of “mum” and “student” more easily.
Get organised the night before.
It pays to get a routine going from the beginning to help your day run smoothly. It may be chaotic at the start, but once you get into a routine it will get easier. Organise your own and your baby’s clothes the night before, so much time can be wasted in the morning searching for your favourite top. Have the baby’s food for the next day prepared in the fridge. If you need to remember anything in particular for the next day, write a note to yourself and put it by your keys. If the baby is still asleep in the morning, organise yourself first and then wake him/her up.
Make the most of your time in school or college.
It is worth your while to try to get as much done as possible while you are in the college/school environment, so you can spend more time relaxing and playing with your baby when you go home. It is also harder to concentrate on your work when the baby is present. Look after yourself. During the school or college day, try to get some fresh air and sunlight. Gradually get yourself back into PE or sports activities. If you have any free sessions between classes you may have time for a walk or even a swim if there is a pool nearby.
This might be more of a challenge if you are living independently and have to cook your own meals. If your school or college has a canteen check out what the full meals are like. If they were good quality you may be able to have you main meal there to save you cooking when you go home.
Communicate with your childminder/creche.
It is important for you to be truly confident in the care your baby receives from the crèche/childminder. If you are worried about your baby, inform the person caring for your child when you are handing them over. When you come to pick up your child from childcare, take the time to find out how your child was for the day and whether or not there were any issues that you need to be aware of. This ensures you are always up to date with your child’s needs.
Most schools and colleges will react very positively to you returning to school and are more than happy to offer you every chance to complete your education. It is important that you inform them if you are finding things a bit tough. Your school may have a home school liaison officer, counsellor or career guidance teacher to offer you advice and support. At college level the welfare officer or chaplaincy service can help you work through and prioritise your needs. It really helps to connect with someone like this to help you get back into the swing of things quickly.
Ask for extra support if you need it.
Coming up to the exams you may need extra study time. Do not be afraid to ask for help from the baby’s father, your family or friends. if you do not ask for help, people may not think to offer.
Check out grants to help you to return to Education/Training.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to receive some financial support to help meet the cost of being in education. Details of these are available in the Financial Supports for Young Parents In Education .