Preparing for college is a scary time for both parents and their kids. For college-bound students, the few months leading up to moving out and attending a new and more challenging school are immensely nerve-wracking, with unique anxieties about living alone and attending college for the first time. For parents, however, watching their children leave home is far from easy as well. Many parents find themselves hit with feelings of sadness or loss at the idea of their child not living at home for the first time, as well as worry about how their kids will fare on their own.
For both parents and students alike, it can be helpful to simply focus on the transition to college life slowly, one bit at a time. Despite the emotion behind this time, the transition to college requires a lot of work and preparation beforehand from both parents and their children. By focusing on making sure students are prepared to move out for school, both kids and their parents can put their minds at ease and quell their anxieties about the process. Here is a checklist of the most important things to do before your kid moves out for college.
Show Your Child Basic Chores
While ideally college-aged children should have some idea of how to perform basic chores already, the fact is that a lot of students moving out for college aren't completely equipped or comfortable with many of the necessary skills adults need to have in order to live on their own. You can help your child (and yourself) feel much more secure about moving out by taking the time to show them how to do simple tasks such as basic cleaning, laundry, cooking, and grocery shopping. Have your child shadow you while you do these tasks to begin with if they don't usually help out with chores at home, but encourage your child to perform these chores for themselves for at least a few weeks before they move out so that they'll be ready to live on their own.
Teach Your Child About Money
Another common adult skill that many college-aged students lack is financial literacy. Most teenagers don't actually learn much about how money works in high school. After turning eighteen, college-aged adults are suddenly thrust into a world of credit cards, credit scores, bank accounts, and student loans that they were never prepared to face. Explaining how these financial systems work and ensuring that your child understands how to spend and save responsibly can help your child avoid huge mistakes down the road and manage their money appropriately while they're living alone.
While preparing your child for university may involve a lot of brunt realities about adulthood, that doesn't mean it can't be fun too! College students require a lot of supplies for school, from laptops and stationery to furniture and decor to toilet paper and necessities. Odds are that your child probably hasn't shopped for a lot of the things they need to live alone before, so going with your child to buy supplies for college can help them feel much more confident about their purchases. As a parent, you also get the peace of mind of knowing that your child has everything they need once they get to their dorm.
Personalize The Dorm Room
Speaking of which, for many college students living on their own for the first time, a drab and plain dorm room can quickly drag down their state of mind and make them homesick. Personalizing the dorm room is a fantastic way for college students to feel more at home in their new living space. Personalization can range from adding furniture and decorations to even painting the walls of the dorm if the school allows it.
Painting the walls of a dorm room is one of the best ways to make it feel a little more like home, and some universities allow dorm rooms to be painted so long as they're reverted back to their original color when students move out. Since other students are probably moving into their dorm rooms as well and ventilation in dorm rooms tends to be poor, it can be worthwhile to do a quick online search for a "professional painter near me" to do the job instead of trying to do it yourself.
Stay In Touch
Finally, the best thing you can do for yourself and your child during this difficult time as a parent is to make sure they know that you're still there for them even though they're living alone. Try to keep in contact with your child as much as possible without being overbearing. As long as your child knows you're there to support them, they will do absolutely fine living alone, and you'll feel a lot better knowing you'll be able to help them if they need it.
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