For post-secondary students with children, juggling academic demands and childcare responsibilities can be a daunting task. But remember, it’s a challenge you don’t have to face alone. As a First Nations, Métis, or Inuit student parent, you have access to various resources and strategies that can help you effectively manage your dual role.

1) Campus Childcare Services

Many universities, colleges, and trades schools offer on-campus childcare centres or services, providing high-quality care in a convenient location. Typically, these centres have structured programs, trained staff, and follow national childcare guidelines. Though the demand can be high, many institutions prioritize student parents. Make sure to apply early to secure a spot.

2) Indigenous Student Support Services

Your school’s Indigenous Student Centre or similar support services can be a valuable resource. These centres often provide specific support for student parents, which can include access to childcare resources, family-friendly study spaces, or even emergency childcare funds. They also offer a community of fellow students who may be experiencing similar challenges and can provide advice or share resources.

3) Subsidies and Financial Support

Financial assistance for childcare is available through various provincial and federal programs. Depending on your income, you may qualify for subsidized childcare or tax benefits. The Canada Child Benefit (CCB), for instance, is a tax-free monthly payment to help with the costs of raising children. For Indigenous students, additional funding may be available through Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) or local band councils.

4) Flexible Study Options

Many post-secondary institutions understand the demands placed on student parents and offer flexible study options. This might mean part-time studies, evening classes, or online learning options. Explore these possibilities with your academic advisor to create a schedule that balances your academic commitments with your childcare responsibilities.

5) Childcare Co-ops and Shared Care

One creative solution to childcare is forming a childcare co-op with other parents. This involves a group of parents sharing childcare duties, meaning less time and financial commitment for each individual parent. It also fosters a supportive community for both parents and children. Alternatively, consider shared care arrangements with a trusted friend or family member.

6) Prioritize and Plan

Balancing childcare with academic responsibilities requires excellent organizational skills. Create a realistic schedule that includes your classes, study time, childcare duties, and personal time. Remember to be flexible—unexpected situations are bound to arise, and having a plan helps you navigate these challenges more easily.

7) Self-Care and Support

Perhaps the most crucial point to remember is that taking care of yourself is not a luxury—it’s a necessity. Seek support when you need it, whether that’s emotional support from a counsellor, academic support from a tutor, or simply sharing experiences with other student parents. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help, and doing so demonstrates strength, resilience, and resourcefulness.

Being a student parent undoubtedly presents unique challenges, but it’s also an opportunity to model hard work, determination, and lifelong learning for your children. With the right support and resources, you can successfully navigate your post-secondary journey and provide a nurturing environment for your child. Remember, this experience is not just about earning a degree—it’s about growing as an individual, a parent, and a member of your community.

Chelsea Reid Headshot

Paige Hill

Mentorship Advocate, Indspire

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