Sending your child to university or college is a huge milestone, and chances are, parents are worried about making sure their kids are headed off to school with the right life skills in mind. This is also a first real test of life in the “real world.” To give them the right head start, here are five essential life skills you should teach your child before sending them to university or college.
Time management is one of the most important skills to learn, whether in post-secondary studies, or in life outside of school. A good way to integrate time management into your child’s life is with technology they’re already familiar with. By using their smartphone, you can sync a calendar, like Google Calendar, between their computer and mobile devices. Classes and appointments can be set to send a reminder alert at a programmed duration before the event itself.
Sure students may already have a bank account where they’ve been saving birthday money and other income, but for many, this is the first time that they’ll be relying on their bank accounts as a source of money flow for managing living expenses. Ensure your student knows how to track finances and budgets so they’re not overspending their income. A tool like Mint is a great way to track spending trends and to visually see where money is going. Always keep credit card usage limited and always pay money owed in full to maintain a healthy credit score.
As the saying goes, “everything in moderation.” The reality is your child isn’t going to be eating healthy foods at every meal, but having a basic understanding of the food groups and having a balanced diet will avoid your child from falling victim to the “freshman 15” where students eat their stress away with poor nutritional food choices.
A regular laundry routine is a must. Teach your child how to separate colours, choose the correct washing temperature and detergent, as well as how to fold their clothes properly for storage. This will help prevent clothes from being wrinkled on the floor, or even worse, several loads of dirty laundry when your child comes home to visit.
Freedom with responsibility
This one may sound corny, sure, but in all honesty, this tip could be the most important. Your child will get to university where they don’t have a parental figure to hover over their shoulder and monitor their life decisions. They have the freedom to stay up as late as they’d like, show up to class tardy, and even hand in their assignments a week late, but the key is to teach them to exercise their freedom with responsibility. Every action has a consequence, and students need to learn prioritize and balance school, and part-time jobs, with leftover time reserved for fun — it is possible!
Are there any life skills you feel should be taught before sending your child off to university or college? Share them in the comments below!
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