Finding time to work on your firefighter promotional exam prep can be a challenge, especially if you have kids. When you get home from your shift, your kids will likely want your undivided attention, especially if they are younger. Keep reading for tips on how to balance kids and studying.
Talk to Your Children
The first thing you should do when you begin your study journey for your firefighter promotional exam is tell your kids exactly what you are doing. Explain to your children that you will be taking more time to study for a very important exam for a promotion at work. Tell them why it is important to you and why you want to be promoted. Be sure to tell them it is temporary, give them the exact timeframe of when your exam is. Having an honest conversation with your child/children about why you will be spending more time away from them will help them better handle the situation. Even though they are young (or even teenagers) it is important to let kids know about the changes that are taking place in their life, even if they seem minimal to you.
Take Breaks With Your Kiddos
When you start to study for your firefighter promotional exam you will quickly learn the importance of breaks to avoid getting burnt out before you even get promoted. When you take a break from studying, do something with your child. Go for a walk or bike ride with your kid(s). Make a fun snack and enjoy it together. Letting your child know before you start a study session how long you will need to study for, and what you will do with them when your study session is over is a great way to keep your kids from interrupting your studying. Even set a timer for them on the microwave/phone/alexa so they can check for themselves how much longer you will be studying. The more your kids know what is going on the more understanding they will be of your study time.
Get Them Involved
Incorporate your kids into your studying. This is mostly age dependent, but most younger kids are even capable of helping you study in some way and would most likely love to be involved. If your kids are old enough to read and the content is age appropriate let them help you with your flashcards. If they can’t read yet, let them hold the flashcards for you. If you are doing timed study sessions, let your kids watch the clock for you and tell you when your time is up (they can even be in another room). Letting your kids help you prepare for your promotional exam, even if it's in a small way, will have a big impact on them. Are these things going to be productive every day study sessions, no, but your kids will appreciate you including them and be more likely to leave you alone a few minutes longer when you study solo if you involve them.
What About Babies?
Hiring a babysitter, or getting someone to watch your baby (or even older child) would be the ideal solution so you can focus all of your time and attention on your studying. If you are paying someone to watch your baby, you will probably be more motivated to actually study. Another alternative would be to enroll them in a daycare program a few times a week to give yourself the time you need to study, your kids will probably enjoy it as well.
Babysitters and daycare are not available options for every parent. If you have no childcare for your baby and need to study for your firefighter promotional exam, try using something that can contain your baby safely, such as:
Pak n play
There are so many baby contraptions on the market to keep your baby safely contained within eyesight for a short period of time while you study. This is also a great time to test out high intensity study sessions so you can keep your study sessions shorter while your children are home.
Studying for your firefighter promotional exam when you have kids can be more challenging than the exam itself. Do your best to use these tips to help you keep your and your child(rens) sanity until test day.