The following is a guest post from my friend, Sarah, who is preparing to send her son off to college for the first time! She asked if she could share some advice and I was happy to have it!
Parent’s Guide to College Send Off
Your little kid is all grown up and ready to become their own person, huh? Awesome. For most parents, letting go is a pretty difficult thing to do, so it might be a little weird at first. Trust me, though: it’s going to be all good. They’re about to embark on something that will turn their life into something even more special. They will no longer be shackled by the mundanity of their usual routine; they’ll be let loose into the real world for the first time.
While it’s really nothing to be too afraid of, college is by no means a walk in the park to prepare for and get used to. It’s going to be a little different from their first day of school as a child as they’ll have a lot more responsibilities on their shoulders. They’re not going to have their hand held through the majority of the time – it’s going to be quite the contrary, in fact. It’s all fairly autonomous, so they’ll have to make their own way through most aspects. That said, if they’re not ready to go, then you should probably get them into the zone – or a little into the zone at least; they can’t be expected to know how to do everything – they’re still only kids, after all!
How, as a parent, are you going to prepare them for what’s ahead, though? If you have a pretty level-headed teen with a little common sense, then your job is going to be pretty simple. Not every kid has that, though, unfortunately – most kids are actually pretty naïve, aren’t they? It’s up to you to make sure that they have a smoother time of it. The way a child (and then a young adult) behaves is directly linked to the way they were brought up, so you have a big part to play. This isn’t exactly a high-pressure situation for you, but you’re going to want to make sure everything is handled before they jump into a new and challenging environment. Here are a few things you can do to train them:
Build Up Their Confidence
This doesn’t mean you should tell them things that they would like to hear. You can do that, of course, if you feel it will build up their self-esteem, but we’re talking about doing practical stuff here. There’s only so much you can say to a person before it starts to lose value, so you’ll have to start doing things with them. Do you remember what it was like when you were a young whipper-snapper trying to make your way in the real world? It was pretty difficult, huh? The way you became more confident in yourself was to just do stuff. Well, that’s what you’ll have to do with your young’un. They’re going to be living on their own without supervision, so they’re going to need to have the wherewithal to survive as a normal, mature person should.
Set An Example
Even though they’re pretty much set to leave you and be their own person, they’ll still see you as a sort of role model and as an act to follow. Whatever you do will have an immediate effect on what they do. They’ll get an idea of how things are based on what you think of them. You’re probably going to want to approach life with some vigour and some sprightliness if you want them to be that way inclined. It’s no coincidence that most people with negative attitudes and demeanours are the sons and daughters of people with the exact same outlook! Be proactive towards college life; make them mimic your good vibes.
Make Them Do Domestic Chores
As we said before, they’re going to be living alone (or with a roommate), and they’re going to be no experienced guardians supporting them. If you’ve done most (if not all) of their chores for them growing up, then they’re not going to know the first thing about domestic life. This is becoming more and more of a problem as the years are progressing because stay-at-home moms are letting their kids laze around the house. Get them functioning. Make them work. It might be a little unpleasant for them, but who cares? They’re going to need to learn.
Take Them Shopping
Yes, they have probably been into millions of stores in the past, and they probably bought a heap of items off the internet before. There’s a bit of a difference between buying a few t-shirts from the most popular shop in town, and purchasing necessities for the week ahead, however. Shopping and picking up necessary groceries is part and parcel of everyday life. Nobody can live on tap water and oxygen alone. Nobody can smell and feel good without showering and cleaning themselves properly. Doing a big shop for the first time is pretty difficult, but after two or three tries, it becomes the most basic thing in the world. Get shopping.
Look At Part-Time Jobs
Unless you’re a wealthy family with a safe and secure way of funding their education and living, they’re going to need to get a job. They’ll probably have to get a job anyway due to the fact that it prepares you for the real world, but a job will be needed mainly to keep them alive! If there’s still some time before they’re to head off to college, you’ll want to get them working as soon as possible so that they can prepare for what’s to come. Also, look for part-time jobs in the new area.
Handle Their Means Of Communication
They’re going to need to get in touch with you and other important people while they’re away and fairly isolated. That means making sure they have all of the important and crucial phone numbers and emails in their inventory. Their phone will need to be safely connected and ready to go – you can get all kinds of Student SIM options that suit the needs of students, so something like that would be helpful for them. Look at different Facebook groups, too. Social media provides a lot of help for someone when their looking to ingratiate.
Help Them With Accommodation
They need to have somewhere to live, don’t they? As there will be lots of different people looking to reserve rooms, you’ll want to get in there nice and early so that you don’t miss out on anything adequate. If you’re complacent, then you probably won’t get a terrible place, but you might not get exactly what you want. There will be lots of places available on campus and off-campus. Get searching!
Prepare For The Workload Ahead
College students are notoriously seen as party-animals of sorts. They do like to get their dance on, but they also knuckle down and get a lot of studying done. College work has that fairly laid back approach, but there are intense periods where working is the only thing that should be on a student’s mind. Make sure that they’re prepared for it all. Supplies, equipment, software – bring the lot.
Warn Them Not To Party Too Hard!Yes, as we said, fun should be had at this stage of their life. They’re not going to be a college student forever, so it’s only right that they get to enjoy themselves while they’re in that position. Partying TOO hard can be a problem, however. There’s a line that nobody should cross. Drill into them that they shouldn’t drink too much (if they’re of age!), and they shouldn’t cause any problems for anyone. The fun stops when people get out of control.