Kids off to College? Have These Talks First

Seeing your kids off to college for the first time can be a scary experience for any parent. Who knows what they’re up to over there, in any way, and have you been able to teach them all the necessary life skills?

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The good news in all of this is that you still have a while left before they’re off – and you can still ensure that they’re fully prepared. Here is a handful of tips in terms of making sure that your kids are college ready long before they’re off to college for good.

It just makes it a bit easier to relax as a parent, knowing that you’ve raised responsible and smart children.

First: Have the finance talk

As we grow up, life gets increasingly complicated. There are bills to pay, mortgages to keep up with, student loans that never seem to end – and we long back to the days when we were children.

Finance is an easy task for your kids; they might get an allowance which they’ll try to save a bit of it as you taught them before they sneak off to the shop with their friends to buy candy.

It’s kind of the same things we do just without all the supervision. We just tend to have a lot more expenses when we grow up and not as much to spend on candy at all. Try to teach your kids about finances before they grow up and have to enter the real world; there is so much that the schools are teaching them that they won’t be using in real life quite yet.

The learning opportunities seem to go to waste, in other words, and they will forget all about this when they head off to university and build up a ton of credit card debt. Look for opportunities to teach them about finances during your everyday life.

In case you’re wondering about how much their school really covers this topic, it’s a good idea to find out during a parent teacher conference as you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions. Budgeting and finances are such essential skills and they should be doing more than just skimming the surface.

Think about how you can talk to them about smart shopping when you’re out in the grocery shop together, show them the energy bills you receive and go through what all the expenses mean, and talk about the difference between credit and debit.

Budget skills are, after all, essential now that they need to manage their own money. Teach them how to make a budget and stick to it, first of all, before moving on to the more complicated stuff. This is vital to staying financially healthy throughout college so make sure they understand how important it is.

You can have a look at this article for some more details on how to teach your kids the right kind of money skills no matter how young they are.

Next: Teach them how to cook

Teenagers are young adults everywhere are known for their poor diets. Cooking takes time, after all, at least if you’d like it to taste good and it often requires a bit of skill in the kitchen as well. To most of us, these skills come with time – and, in the meantime, we live on takeaway and frozen pizza while complaining about not having enough money.

You can spare your kids from all of this by teaching them how to cook sooner rather than later. It is, after all, something we need to do in order to survive and it should definitely be a priority for you to teach this to your children.

They can start out when they’re rather young as well, by the way, and you don’t have to wait for them to come to you before you start the lessons. This means that even your youngest kids can be a bit more prepared for college life – and your oldest ones will have to follow their lead.

Ask the younger ones to help out with the safe and easy tasks in the kitchen such as tearing up the lettuce and helping you with taking out the ingredients you need. As they age, they can help out by cutting up softer vegetables with a plastic knife, measuring up ingredients for baking, and keeping the cooking area clean.

If you have a teenager who is far from being too young to handle a proper knife, you might want to dedicate a day of the week to their cooking. That way, you’ll get a proper break and they get to put their skills to good use for real.

Check out this article for some more excellent tips to make sure that your kids know everything they need to know about cooking. Sure, they’ll learn a lot now that they’re out of the nest too – but at least you’ll know that they’re not living exclusively off instant noodles.

Talk about hygiene too

When you were off to college yourself, you might have noticed a few stinky habits of your fellow roommates. It’s, in fact, astonishing how many teenagers and young adults there are that don’t know basic hygiene such as having a shower at least once a day and doing their laundry.

While your children probably are far from being at their level, there is still a lot you can do to ensure that they know exactly how to keep themselves and their surroundings clean. Teach them how to operate that laundry machine once and for all, go over how many times they should, in fact, change their bed sheets, and talk about the importance of doing dishes right after cooking.

That way, they won’t have to be the annoying roommates that everyone complains about – and you won’t have to have them home just so that you can do their laundry either. Everyone wins, in other words, and your kids can definitely consider themselves college-ready.