You probably look forward to the day your child goes off to college with mixed emotions. While few things can cure empty-nest syndrome, you still need to set your youngster up for success.
You have a lot of preparation to do, spanning the practical and emotional spheres. Here are five pointers for helping your kid prepare for college.
1. Get Logistics Out of the Way
Unless your child plans to live at home while completing their education, you’ll need to secure lodging for them. Your instincts may scream, “put them in the dorm,” but that isn’t the best living situation for all students. If your kiddo won’t use all the services included in the bundle, it might be cheaper for them to find an off-campus apartment. Additionally, learners who work while attending school have a better chance of catching their Zzz’s while they can without a roommate keeping them awake.
You also have to find a way to schlep all their stuff, but unlike a traditional relocation, you also must find a way to haul it all back at semester’s end. Renting a truck each time can become prohibitively expensive. It may be more cost-effective to install a hidden wheel lift so that you don’t compromise vehicle performance when pulling tough hills with a trailer in tow.
2. Make a Sample Budget
Higher education costs continue to soar, and they show no indication of dropping anytime soon. If your child relies on student loans to fund their education, they’re already staring apossible lifetime of debt in the face. Help them find alternative ways to afford their books and supplies without throwing such expenses on a credit card. Companies often prowl campuses for new applicants, and yielding to temptation can bury your kid in high-interest charges.
If your child chooses to live in the dorms with a full meal pass, you know that they’ll enjoy decent meals. However, if they live off-campus, help them make a food budget. It helps if you used grocery shopping to teach budgeting when they were little, but there’s no reason why you can’t talk about clipping coupons and finding bargains on healthy treats now.
3. Create a Schedule
You don’t want your child to become one of the many who fall behind not because they aren’t intelligent, but rather due to letting assignments pile up until they are overwhelmed with their workload. Unlike K-12 school, your child’s university probably won’t issue a planner, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t provide one.
Your child may grumble at first, but sit down with them and help them to create a sample study schedule. Teach them how to allot time for each task by jotting down estimates for each step and then dividing the sum to find an average at project completion. This activity presents the ideal time to discuss scheduling hours for exercise, sleeping, nutrition and plain, old brain-rest.
4. Have the “Big Talk”
Maybe you heaved a sigh of relief after you first presented the birds and bees to your child. However, sexual health is a part of total well-being, and your children may want to get physical with their partner. Please make sure that they experiment safely. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, comprehensive, science-based sex education decreases risky sexual behavior, not encourages it.
You also need to discuss possible substance abuse. With cannabis going legal in many jurisdictions — including the one where your child attends school, perhaps — using inflated scare tactics will only make them more curious. Instead, have an open dialogue and remain nonjudgmental, presenting science-based evidence and respecting their decision-making ability.
5. Make Them Feel Safe
Many new physical and psychological hazards lurk at college, and your job as a parent is to help your child prepare. Unfortunately, well over 10% of students report non-consensual sexual contact while at university. Please ensure that your child knows that if they come to you with such incidents, you will believe them and support them in how they choose to proceed. Unfortunately, many people who report face revictimization by the system and peers, so whether to contact authorities is a highly personal decision.
Your kids should also know that they can talk to you about less severe issues and that doing so won’t lead to punishment or ostracization. If all you do is harp about grades, imagine the stress you put on your child if they find themselves struggling. Wouldn’t it be a wiser, kinder approach to look at the problem together and propose solutions, such as hiring a tutor or taking advantage of campus resources?
Help Your Kid Prepare for College With These Pointers
Helping your child get ready to launch into adulthood is exciting for both you and them. Help your kid prepare for college with the five pointers above.