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6 tips for single parents returning to school

As a newly single person, you may be asking yourself, "What now?" You have the rest of your life ahead of you, and now is the time to start living it. If you always wanted to go back to school, now may be the time. Going back to school as a single parent can be challenging but very rewarding. Here are six tips to help ease your transition back to school.

1. Time management is essential

As a parent, you most likely have excellent time-management skills. However, as a single parent and student, you're going to have a lot of responsibilities and a limited amount of available time to meet them. Some of the most important things you can do are to set boundaries and to say no.

2. Explore resources through your college

Some colleges offer free or subsidized child care to enrolled students. Some universities have inexpensive family housing rentals. Be sure and check which resources are available at your college so you can stay on top of your workload while meeting your other obligations.

3. Look for ways to save money

You may be eligible for federal financial aid to help cover some of your education expenses. Some universities have dedicated scholarships for single parents that you may qualify for. Also, you may need to be extra frugal, which might mean looking for ways to save money by cutting expenses around the house. Just remember that you're sacrificing now so you can be better off in the future.

4. Do it as a family

Explain what you are striving to accomplish to your children. Ask for their help to the extent that is appropriate for their ages. If your kids are in school, study while they are working on their homework or reading. If your children are old enough, you can look at having friendly family challenges. You and your children can support each other as you learn together.

5. Lean on your support network

Rally your family and friends for support. Your parents, friends, neighbors and even your former spouse may be willing to help with things like picking the children up from school when you have an exam.

6. Make time for you

Juggling classes, family and possibly a job is challenging. When you are burning the candle at both ends, it is easy to burn out. As a parent, it is especially important to take care of yourself. Try to eat well, keep up with your exercise, get enough sleep and take a moment to relax.

Going back to school or college as a single parent is difficult, but it leads to new opportunities. As you establish a new routine, things should get easier for you and your family.

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