I can’t believe my daughter Gabrielle’s freshman year of college is almost in the books. After so much preparation in the visiting and selection process, Gabrielle found the perfect college for her…in Boston…five hours from home. After many boxes of tissues and deep breaths, this mom has finally adjusted to having one less kid at home. It’s a very different feeling but knowing how happy she is, makes the adjustment easier. After all, if they are happy, you are happy. As parents, happiness is all we want for our kids.
Even as a very hands-on parent, I worried if Gabrielle was prepared to live away from home. Did my husband and I do our job in teaching and molding this child of ours to live on her own? Boston is about five hours from where we live so it isn’t exactly right around the corner, and it isn’t too far away either. While we can’t be with our her 24/7, holding her hand every step of the way, I wanted to make sure that Gabby had a good foundation of “common sense” to help guide her through these next four years.
While I realize that she will have to learn about college life on her own and in her own way, by either trial and error or just taking that leap, I was determined to at least prepare her somewhat with these 10 Things To Teach Your Kids Before College.
Teach Them the Value of Money – Teach them how to how to make a deposit (or withdraw money) in an actual bank. So much is done online these days. Banking is an important life skill that we all need to understand. If they do not know how to use an ATM machine, teach them that too.
Teach Them How to Set a Budget – College is expensive! If you attended college, I am sure you will understand what it is like to be a “poor college student.” Hopefully, they understand the full financial commitment of the college experience. To do so, they need a budget, no matter how small, for spending, shopping, food etc). If they are solely living on a cash basis or are also using a credit card, they need to understand they financial accountability.
Teach Them How to Do Laundry – Yep, boys and girls alike will need to know that they can’t wash reds with whites, unless they like pinks. Learning to sort colors, fold their clothes (OK, that may be stretching it a little) and use the correct wash cycle will make their college transition easier. Have them start doing their own laundry at home before they leave.
Teach Them How to Boil Water – Basic cooking skills are pretty helpful. I am not talking about training at the Culinary Institute of America but learning to make simple foods and boil water is an important life skill they will use well after college is over.
Teach Them About Personal Safety – Just like we teach our kids when they are younger, personal safety is important in all aspects. They are adults, living away from home and while we can no longer monitor their every move, the need to understand that any decision they has a consequence. A good common sense discussion on subjects like about not going anywhere alone to even protecting themselves in a relationship is a great idea.
Teach Them How to Use Public Transportation – We live on a large farm in the country. Gabrielle is going to school in a large city. We don’t use public transportation in our small town. When we visited Boston, I made sure Gabrielle knew about their public transportation system. Now her next step is to learn how to get around town using it. That is part of the trial and error. Make sure your kids have a basic understanding of public transportation if they are going to a city. It is also a good idea to know where the nearest airport or train station is in case they need to travel home at some point.
Teach Them to Be Cautious with What They Post Online – Social media is here to stay….and it can be brutal if used improperly. While I admit, as an online influencer, I use it and love it. But, it is important to teach our kids about the consequences of what they are posting. It can come back to haunt you if a future employer researches and finds something on one of their sites that they feel in inappropriate.
Teach Them to Choose Friends Wisely – I feel like a broken record on this topic as it is something I have preached to both my kids since they were young. Choose your friends wisely. We don’t anyone to lead our kids astray or contribute to bad decision making.
Teach Them About Time Management – A college course load can be much different than their high school schedule. Classes may be more rigorous and they need to learn how to budget their time wisely. I try to teach my kids to block out periods of time for each subject. Time-blocking gives them a “game plan” and helps to keep them focused and on task. This is just one method that works well for my kids, something else may work better for your child.
Teach Them How to Find Help and Advice on Campus – Let’s face it, college is a new chapter in life. Adjustment is a big thing for college freshmen. Some find it easier and some more difficult. Make sure they know where to find help on campus for any issue whether it’s academic, homesickness, medical or just for support.
Hopefully, these 10 tips will help make your child’s college transition a little easier. Parenting is never easy but I think we can all agree it is the most rewarding job on the planet. As for me, I feel like a pro now but still occasionally grab a box of tissues to help get me through this new chapter in our family’s life.
This post originally appeared on The Farm Girl Gabs. It has been reprinted with permission.