Are you prepared for your son or daughter to go off to college in the fall? More importantly is your son or daughter prepared to be on their own for the very first time? In text talk, I have "BTDT" both as as a former college admission counselor, student advisor and parent of college aged children, I found that there was more than one kid in college that wasn't quite ready for the "real world" and wasn't getting by so well with a little help from their friends. To make the most of your child's first year away from home consider a little pep and preparation to put them on the road to success.
Budgets are big. Whether your child is on a full scholarship or just getting by with their college tuition learning how to handle a budget may be one of the hardest skills they have to master. Start them off right with a weekly or monthly budget during their senior year to help them get into the habit of making their money last. Provide them with tools like a spreadsheet to show them where their money goes and how they spend it. Teach them how to use a checkbook, debit card and credit card and keep track of where they money goes and why.
Eat your veggies. If your children aren't eating healthy now, they aren't going to once they get to college. Late study nights, fast food, vending machines, little time between classes and it is easy to see how students pack on the freshman 15.
Choose wisely. For the past few years you have been making many of your child's choices for them. Start listening to your children early and help them learn the skills they need to think about their choices and make smart ones. After all, it is a lot easier to drop a class in high school than it is in college, and it also doesn't cost as much money. That won't be the only important choices your child has to make.
Sex, drugs and rock and roll. Your college aged child is now an adult. Now is the time to learn to step back and hope that your teachings will bring about the right choices for your child, not you. Remember the first time your child realized they were a big kid around the age of 8? Now the phrase, "I can do it by myself" takes on a whole new meaning.
Show them how to separate. Kids, meet the laundry room. It sounds silly, but for some freshman year is the first time that they will ever have to do their own laundry. Teach them before they go all they need to know about hot and cold, hand washing to heavy duty.
Clean up clean up everybody everywhere. Up until now you may have had to remind your teen to use deodorant, brush their teeth or hair or even take a shower. Make sure your child knows the importance of the personal hygiene including washing their sheets more frequently than when mom or dad arrives for a visit or to pick them up for break. Showing up for class in pajamas is okay. Smelling like a trash can is not. Trust me; their classmates will be happy you did.
There is more to preparing for college than good grades and test scores. Going off to college may be an event that you and your children have been working towards your whole life. Now that the day has arrived make sure that you review and improve some basic life skills to make sure that your child is on their way to college success. The classes, the assignments, the major and everything else will fall into place, but nothing can take the place of knowing what to do and when whether they are in college or out on their own.
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