Tips and tricks for studying with a toddler. When the academic and the parenting lives cross over it doesn't have to be carnage!

Tips For Studying with a Toddler

I am in the process of getting my degree online with the OU and it takes up a lot of time, especially as I am trying to do it in 4 years, the rate of a full-time student. 

tips for studying with toddlers featureWith work, the school run, blogging, volunteering, studying, taking care of the house and parenting sometimes these activities overlap and even with the kid at school during the day it means that on holidays, weekends and evenings I may have to study while he’s around (which is easier said than done).

Toddlers are different from babies because they are looking for more mental stimulation and before you ask, the reason I don’t stop studying when he’s around is because I want him to see that learning can be done at any age and I am hoping it will encourage him to be more academic as he gets older! (he already enjoys reading and handwriting so hopefully, we are off to a good start!).

That being said, obviously studying is partly selfish, I didn’t go to college and although I wasn’t ready at the time, I am definitely ready now and I don’t think that I should stop trying to fulfil my dreams just because we have a family (although I am sure many of you would call that selfish as well! so be it).

What I am trying to say is that, toddlers and studying just don’t mix and yet sometimes I have to make it work! So for anyone out there who is trying to further their education, has decided to do a course or just wants to get a little more academic, here are my tips for studying with a toddler.

Prioritize Easier Tasks

I like to organise my workload so that easier tasks such as notetaking or planning are done while he is awake so that the time he is in bed is spent doing more in depth reading or researching. Spending a little time organising your workload and prioritising the easier tasks means that you can go straight into them and make use of the time you have. Plus it’s motivating to strike things off of the list too!

books, notes and studing to prioritize tasks when studying with a toddler

Little and Often

You can’t expect toddlers to amuse themselves for hours on end, and I don’t like the idea of using the TV as a babysitter all the time (although admittedly it has been done before). So I like to set a timer for 15/20 or 30 minutes and do smaller increments, he tends to respond to my studying better if he knows it doesn’t take up all of my time.

Games and Rewards

This is the obvious one, bartering and bribery are definitely my friends when he is in a bad mood so at the moment I promise to play board games or do something specifically together straight after I finish a certain point. He got kerplunk for Christmas so at the moment I let him know that when I am done he can thrash me at that and all of my attention will be on him! (and he does beat me at Kerplunk terribly!)

Give Them “Work” to Do

One thing I have noticed is that when he acts up for attention, it is normally because he want’s to do what I am doing so I have found that giving him, his own “work” makes him feel included and important. Some days I give him handwriting sheets and he practices in his book and on others it is just coloring in, but the act of sitting up at the table with me makes him feel more included. (plus it is a great time to get his homework or handwriting practice in, if he has any).

kid doing his own work, studying with a toddler

Make Use of Meal Times

It’s not very often that I eat at the same time as the toddler so while he is nomming away I can get quite a bit done. Luckily he isn’t fussy and can feed himself now which definitely helps me get in half an hour (sometimes more) of planning, reading or writing if necessary!

Accept You Can’t Do Everything

I can’t do academic reading while the cat in the hat is on the TV or when he’s playing cars because I am busy trying to keep one eye on him and his activities which is not conducive to reading in depth about management from theories in the 1800’s (shocking I know). Sometimes this is all I have left and so I just can’t get my reading done while he is awake, however, I can make notes or plan assignments or even do the washing up or tidy up which ticks things off my list, so that later on I have the time to sit and devote to it later.

library studying with toddlers and reading

So there we go, I know that academic studies and toddlers don’t go hand in hand but these tips definitely make it easier! Personally I have learned that if I give him quality attention, he tends to allow me to focus much better (although that’s not to say he doesn’t have his days of being a pain) but it is what works for us!

Have you ever had to study with kids? Let me know your tips in the comments!

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Tips and tricks for studying with a toddler. When the academic and the parenting lives cross over it doesn't have to be carnage!

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Written by Charlotte

Founder at The Mummy Toolbox


  • Tasha (#)
    February 5th, 2017

    Studying with kids is so hard! I went through it myself and realized I went about it all wrong. I ended u getting about 2-3 hours of sleep a night just so that I could study peacefully while the kids were sleeping. Huge mistake! I wish I had these tips around 4 years ago. LOL!

  • Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle (#)
    February 3rd, 2017

    It can’t be easy but I am proud of your efforts and motivation to study. Your tips sound like good advice.

  • Sue (#)
    February 3rd, 2017

    Really good tips Charlotte. Study need commitment but you have shown that it can be done. You really just need to want to achieve it.

  • katriza (#)
    February 2nd, 2017

    It’s okay to be selfish about having to study. going to school is a great thing for your future as well as for your child. plus, it will also teach your kid the value of education and what it means to do things the hard way because it’s the right thing to do. i also have two toddlers and was going to school too. it was rough but it was worth it. hang in there, these are some great tips. i made flash cards at night so i could review in short bursts when i had the chance during the day time with the kids.

  • Robin Rue (#)
    February 2nd, 2017

    These are awesome tips for those that are trying to go back to school after having a little one. It can definitely be trying at times but will be so rewarding once it is done.

  • Krystle Cook (#)
    February 2nd, 2017

    Getting an online degree is definitely something to be proud of! You can do this with the right support system behind you with having a toddler. I wish you the best of luck.

  • Tabitha (#)
    February 2nd, 2017

    These are great tips! I love that you’re going back to school even if it is more challenging with a toddler!

  • Chelsea (#)
    February 2nd, 2017

    It’s a great idea to give your toddlers work to do with you. They probably feel involved and like they’re doing important work right along with you!

  • Brittany (#)
    February 2nd, 2017

    I love this! My problem is always blogging when I have the kids around! I swear they wait to be naughty until I’m working… I’ll have to try these tips!

  • Jennifer (JenuineMom) (#)
    February 1st, 2017

    You go! It is NOT selfish to pursue your dream of going to college just because you have a toddler. It is VERY important to continue to better care of yourself when you have little ones, for your benefit and theirs.

  • HilLesha (#)
    February 1st, 2017

    These are wonderful ideas! I have been thinking about going to school since I’d like to pursue other things someday.

  • Rachel (#)
    February 1st, 2017

    These are good tips for people who need to get things accomplished during the day while running after a toddler. It can be a challenge, for sure.

  • Kecia (#)
    February 1st, 2017

    I think working at home with a toddler is similar to studying with one. I would give my boys their own “work” to do or use nap time to get things done.

  • Angela Ricardo (#)
    February 1st, 2017

    As a military wife who could barely handle her busy schedule I am truly glad I came across your helpful post. I honestly feel like people should discuss this often. Thank you for the great tips!

  • Courteney Noonan (#)
    February 1st, 2017

    I love this post! I couldn’t imagine how hard it is to study while you have children – university is hard enough for me as it is haha x

  • Amanda Love (#)
    February 1st, 2017

    I think it’s amazing that you’re getting your degree! I admire your for your determination and how you are able to handle everything on your plate. These are great ideas and it’s nice that you’re trying your best to spend as much time with your toddler as well.

  • Amber Nelson (#)
    February 1st, 2017

    I definitely think it is awesome that moms can go to school and take care of the family. These are awesome tips!

  • Carmen (#)
    February 1st, 2017

    Great tips and Kudos to you. These tips are great for moms who work from home.

  • Krystel @ Planning The Magic (#)
    February 1st, 2017

    These tips are perfect. Huge kudos to parents pursuing a degree, I’m sure it’s not easy at all.

  • Reesa Lewandowski (#)
    January 31st, 2017

    Kudos to any mom who goes back to school with small kids! These are great tips. And what a wonderful role model you will be to your little ones!

  • Cara (@StylishGeek) (#)
    January 31st, 2017

    Whoa! You definitely have a lot on your plate! I wish you the best of luck! Trying to balance everything and still taking care of a toddler is probably one of the most challenging things I know, so I really commend you!

  • Tereza (#)
    January 31st, 2017

    It must be so difficult I can’t even imagine! Well done on doing it and actually gathering all these great tips xx

  • Brandi with Big Fit Fam (#)
    January 31st, 2017

    Great tips! I had 2 toddlers and a 1 year old when i graduated college, finally, and i certainly remember coming up with some interesting things to be able to study while hearding kids! haha!

  • Alyssa Ruane (#)
    January 31st, 2017

    Wow, props to you! I remember just being a student in college and my only other responsibility was a part-time job. You definitely take the cake for time management.

  • Rose Sahetapy (#)
    January 31st, 2017

    I admire Moms who have multi task in their hands, taking care the kids and the house, yet still able to inspire others. You’re right that learning can be done at any age.

  • michelle mink (#)
    January 31st, 2017

    I love the idea of giving them work because I remember loving doing what an adult did when I was little. I also love the idea of doing lite studying while the toddler is awake and doing more in-depth research and studying when they are sleeping.

  • Heather L. (#)
    January 31st, 2017

    I finished my degree when my daughter was little. I utilized the free library programs for kids like story time and craft time. I was able to knock out school work while she had fun.

  • Debra (#)
    January 31st, 2017

    It can be harder to get things done with little ones who want your attention. I think the best advice is just to do little bits at a time and fit it in when you can. And be okay with it! Thanks for sharing.

  • Maureen @Scoops of Joy (#)
    January 31st, 2017

    First of all, bravo to you mama for pursuing your study! I know it ca be really challenging with little ones. My boy is 10 years old and some days I still have to remind him that I need to either do a webinar or something online lol. I love your tips on giving them a ‘work’ to get done. Brilliant!

  • Catherine (#)
    January 31st, 2017

    These are great tips for moms who work or study at home (like you). I really loved the idea of giving them their own “work” to do. My son likes to do his Pattern Play activity.

  • Tara (#)
    January 31st, 2017

    It is hard to study with kids of any age around. Even my older son seems to need more attention from me when I am busy with work. Great tips to try.

  • Lindsey Paris (#)
    January 31st, 2017

    These tips could double for working at home with an 18 month old, too. I wish she was able to play by herself in my sight longer – but she is constantly coming over and pulling!

  • Jalisa Harris (#)
    January 31st, 2017

    Doing little things to reward them for times like these are definitely helpful.

  • Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh (#)
    January 30th, 2017

    Way to go!! I would love to go back to school. I don’t have a degree, and now I wished that I did. These are all great tips for anyone with a family, not just a toddler.

  • Janel Berchielli (#)
    January 30th, 2017

    Oh yes I had many years of those days. I had my first child young and became a single mom going to college. Luckily with support I was able to get it done!

  • Nicola (#)
    January 30th, 2017

    These are great tips…I can’t imagine trying to do a degree with a little one running around so good on you! I used to work from home one day a week when my daughter was a baby and found it near impossible to get anything done, even when my Mum came round to look after her it was still a nightmare!

  • Jessi (#)
    January 30th, 2017

    these are great tips. I managed to get my BA and my MS online while having kids. It wasn’t easy but it was so worth it!

  • Adrienne Carter (#)
    January 30th, 2017

    I do not have kids yet but can’t imagine being in school and having a toddler! You go girl! You are awesome.

  • CoCo (#)
    January 30th, 2017

    I couldn’t imagine the struggle of trying to balance both! But the tips you provided could apply towards just getting some work done with a little one!

  • Lydia (#)
    January 30th, 2017

    I don’t have any little ones, but these tips are so great! I’m sure they’ll help out all the other mommies out there 🙂

    xo, Lydia |

  • karen (#)
    January 30th, 2017

    Such great ideas to keep that toddler busy so you can get your studying done. I especially like them joining in on the work – it reinforces the importance of lifelong learning.

  • Jacqui @FlightsFancyMom (#)
    January 30th, 2017

    Great tips! When I went back to school after my divorce, my daughter was 5. She had just started school, so we would do our homework together. I’d help her and she’d “help” me :). It was fun!

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