How To Prepare Your Kids For College
It’s often said that college is the best four years of your life. There’s a lot of truth to that. It’s your first time out on your own, you’re with a whole community of friends, and you don’t have too many responsibilities yet. But, college can also be a pitfall for some. There are two main points that you need to drive home with your new college student to give them the best college experience: money and safety.
- Money: One of the major things that has long lasting impacts is how we manage our money. Give your soon-to-be college student a few lessons in how to wisely manage their finances.
- Talk About Budgets: Explain to them how a budget works and show them ways to keep track of how much they are spending. Let them have their own bank accounts so that they have the freedom to make the choices that they want to. Don’t let them have the security blanket of unlimited funds to your account. Let them feel the real world effects of running out of money if they make poor choices. Of course, you want them to eat, but let them know that they can’t spend freely without consequence.
- Go Over Taxes: Your college student will be working soon if they aren’t already. Show them a paycheck and how much comes out of it in taxes, medicare, and social security. Let them file their taxes, but be there with them to walk them through the process.
- Prepare Them For Their Expenses: Show them where their tuition money is going and how much it is costing. Help them grasp the reality of how much room and board costs, the expense of groceries, and car payments. Give them an understanding of how much money they will be responsible for when they graduate so student loan repayments aren’t a shock. If they know how much money they owe, then they may make different choices according to their major or future occupation.
- Choosing Good Friends: College is a time where young adults discover who they are. While they are in limbo, they can attach themselves to others who may not be the best influence. Help talk to them about red flags and character traits to avoid. You’ve done a great job while they were in grade school, but now they are going to be on their own. Give them the tools to find great people.
- Dating: Don’t push romantic relationships on your child. If they find someone they want to date, then be open to the new person. Show them the important traits of what you want to find in a mate, and help them see if that person lines up with that.
- Parties: When it comes to college, parties come with the territory. Your child may go to a party and be introduced to things they’ve never done before. Explain the dangers of being in an altered state of mind, and express how important it is to always have a DD, or a way to safely get home. Let them know that they can always come to you, no matter what the situation is. You want the best for them. If they make a mistake, don’t hold it over their head.
Even though it may be hard, it’s important to let your child go to make their own decisions. After all, they’re not really a child anymore! It’s ok if they fall down once or twice. Be there to help them back up, but let them figure out how to stand on their own two feet. These life lessons are part of growing up. You’ll have a strong, smart, and safe college student by supporting them with your love.