While our son is a few years away from college, we have plenty of nieces, nephews, and friends who we have gone through the process with over the years. That's how I knew to share these 5 Things Your Child Needs Before Going to College. This is a great way for you to make sure they are truly prepared, and to focus on things many may not remember until it's almost too late.
5 Things Your Child Needs Before Going to College
1. They need to understand basic financial decisions. While you may still be paying part of their bills each month, they really need to understand basic budgeting and financial decisions. The allowance you send or any income from a job will need to be budgeted even more closely than their high school job income.
Everything from gas and insurance on their car, to paying for all of their food and toiletries, or a simple doctor visit should be understood. Help them sit down to create a basic household budget for themselves. Even if it is just one person, they need to understand about income, expenses, and savings from an early age.
You can even share with them Tips for Creating a Household Budget so they have a guide to go back to later.
2. How to care for their own belongings. Being responsible for their own belongings is different when away from home. We as moms, even though we may have rules about cleaning up at home, still tend to help our kids look after things. Help them early by teaching them basic things. A few are listed below.
- How to properly do their own laundry
- How to change a flat tire
- How and when to have their oil changed in their car
- How and why they should put their belongings back after use while in a dorm room (computers, clothing, chargers, etc so nothing gets broken or stolen)
3. They need to be capable of cohabitating with another human being in close spaces. This is really for those only child households who haven't had to share a lot of space with someone close in age. A dorm room is a very small space for two or sometimes four people to live together. Privacy is nonexistent, and they may or may not be housing with someone who is a bit more cluttered or organized than they typically have been.
An experiment that I think is good is to send them to a summer camp regularly during their teen years so they get used to how others behave in that environment.
4. They should be prepared to budget their time. Not only do you need to teach them about their finances, there is another kind of budgeting that is vital. Your teen and young adult need to understand all about budgeting time. Sure, there won't be a set bedtime anymore, but that doesn't mean they should be staying up all hours of the night.
Remind them that now is the time to really focus on making a schedule for school work, sleep, chores, and social life. They don't have to give up the fun things in life. You just need to help them realize that a schedule will make it possible to enjoy a little of everything while not falling behind.
5. Your child needs to know their worth. This is so important for everyone. Not just our children, but ourselves. As they head off to college, they will be faced with new challenges. The popular child may suddenly feel out of place. The sports star, will be on the bottom rung. The academic scholarship may be harder to maintain than they ever imagines. Your goal should be to assure your child that their worth is more than these things.
Don't let your child go away thinking the only good thing about them is their looks, athleticism, or their ability to take a test. Continually build them up so they know their worth is a large package of things that are far beyond what anyone else might rank or judge them for at college.
These are just a few things your child needs to know before college. Would you add anything else to our list?