Helping Students Prepare for College Life
The time has finally come — the day when your child will leave home for college. It's the culmination of all your years of sacrifice, hard work, and preparation. And while it's exciting to think about this new phase in your child's life, it's not uncommon to become emotional and worried about the prospect of your child living without you. Here are some easy ways to prepare your child (and you) for the big moment:
- Teach your children how to do laundry. Having your college student come home for visits with a full laundry bag is pretty much a parental rite, but your children will still need to be able to do their laundry when they are away from home. You can give them a head start by teaching them how to do laundry before they leave.
- Have them open a bank account at school. To successfully live on their own, your children will need to understand how to manage money. Have them open a bank account with a debit card. Be sure to teach them about overdrafts, bank fees, and the importance of paying their bills on time. You may even want to help them apply for a low limit credit card, which will allow them to learn to use credit responsibly and start building their credit history for the future.
- Get (them) cooking. Even if your child is on a meal plan, there may be times when they don't have time to get to the cafeteria. Teaching them how to cook for themselves will ensure they don't miss meals or spend money on fast food.
- Go shopping for dorm room needs together. Make a list of all the things your child will need for school and go shopping with them. For a list of college must-haves, visit collegepackinglist.com.
- Talk openly to your children about safety. Be sure to educate your child on alcohol and drug abuse and safe sex. Encourage them to make good healthy decisions.
- Make a plan to communicate regularly. Whether your child prefers to talk on the phone or to text, make sure you establish a plan for staying in touch that works for them. Let your child establish the frequency and timing of your discussions. Remind your child that you will be there if you need them.
Once you've done this, make sure you take an important step — congratulate yourself. While it's never easy let go, you've achieved a major step in being a successful parent. Enjoy the peace and quiet and the reduced laundry (at least until you child comes home to visit).