Preparing Your College Student For Life Away From Home
It’s crazy how 18 years can zoom past. One day you’re taking your kids to their first day at pre-school and the next thing you know, it’s the summer before their freshman year in college. Soon enough, your child will be heading off to live a more independent life.
If you’ve played your cards right over the years, your child will be able to handle a lot of the challenges that come with living away from home for the first time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pull a few extra punches as a parent to help them become more prepared for their lives in the next four years.
Today, we’ll be talking about the critical things you need to teach your child before they head off to their chosen university.
Simple Ways to Prepare Your College Student for Life Away From Home
Living in a new town without parental supervision is an exciting time for any kid. However, as a parent, you need to make sure that they are equipped with the right set of skills to help them manage life away from home.
Teach Them How to Do their Laundry
Being able to do your laundry is an important life skill. During the summer before your child leaves for college, teach them. How to load and unload a washing machine, how to fold sheets and clothes, and how to iron out wrinkles.
I was surprised when our first went off to college. He called home the first week and was shocked how many kids had no idea how to do their own laundry, he said he was teaching them! lol He said they had no clue how to iron or fold anything.
Discuss Basics of Banking and Money Matters
Don’t let your child go off to college without teaching them how to navigate personal finance. Teach them how to open a bank account, how to withdraw and deposit money, and how to use mobile banking services.
Talk with your child about credit card companies who might scout them out on campus. Discuss how credit cards work and the dangers of taking on debt they cannot repay at such a young age. Because trust me the credit card companies are ready and waiting to lend to them, so be sure to have that talk.
Introduce them as well to the concept of living on a budget and how it can help them maintain a healthy financial situation now and in the future.
Teach Them How to Navigate Public Transportation
Not every college kid gets to drive around campus. You must teach your child how to take the train and the bus when necessary so that they can make their way around the new town or city they’ll be living in.
Teach them to Cook Simple Meals
Don’t let your child live off cold cereal and boxed mac and cheese and Ramen. Before they leave for college, make sure they know how to whip up simple and healthy meals. Introduce them to the concept of meal prepping particularly if their college dorm has a common kitchen with a fridge or if you plan on getting a small refrigerator for them.
Not only is this a critical life skill but it will also help them stay on a healthy track and not rely on preservative-laden food and takeout.
Introduce Them to Time Management
Living life away from home means your child will be responsible for every second of their time. They’ll be juggling classwork, their social life, and possibly a part-time job if they’re up for it.
This is why you need to teach them how to manage their time well so they can effectively handle their new responsibilities. Teach them how to budget their time and how to prioritize tasks so they can make the most out of their day.
Impart Critical Stress Management Skills
College can be a stressful environment especially for freshmen who are living their life on their own for the first time. Some students would like to do it all—get A’s in class, have a booming social life, and keep their bodies healthy. However, juggling all these can be overwhelming.
Encourage them to listen to their body and know when it’s time to take a break or to ask for help.
Preparing your kids for college doesn’t end with making travel arrangements, picking out linens and furniture for their dorm, and creating meal plans for them. There are non-negotiable life skills we need to impart to them to ensure that they can successfully navigate life as independent young adults.