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There are so many amazing milestones in your child’s life from the day that they’re born. From their first steps to their first words to their first day at school, these are the kinds of things that you will remember for the rest of your life as a parent. However, as they get older, the milestones that they hit seem to be pulling them further and further away from you and turning them into more and more of an independent person. And there’s no single milestone that does this more powerfully than the day they move out and head off to college.
Now, make no mistake, this is absolutely a good thing. No matter how hard it might be more you, it is essential that your child is able to understand how important it is to get out on their own and become their own person. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s always going to be easy. And it’s important to remember that’s it’s not just going to a challenge for you but for your child as well. With that in mind, here are some things that you can do to help your child get ready to head off to college.
Help them be prepared
One of the hardest things about your child going off to college is that they are entering into a totally new world that they likely no very little about. Sure, schools do what they can to try and let kids know what the experience of studying at university level is going to be like but often it still leaves them feeling unsure about things. And you’re certainly never going to be able to provide your child with exactly the tools they need to face every challenge that comes up when they go to college, but by helping them understand the ways that university is different from school, you’re going to help to reduce the sheer level of shock that they end up feeling when they turn up to their first class on the very first day.
Be honest with them
Of course, classes are far from the only thing about college life. If you only talk to your child about the academic side of college then, when they actually get there, the other stuff is going to end up being pretty shocking and overwhelming. It’s actually incredibly important that you talk to your child about everything else that college involves. This means talking about everything from sex to parties to drinking to everything in between.
A lot of parents spend their time trying to shield their kids from these kinds of things but the truth is that they’re going to come up against these kinds of things either way. Kids whose parents haven’t talked to them about them are more likely to dive into these kinds of things head first without being really prepared which is much more likely to cause them serious problems. It might seem counterintuitive but being totally upfront and honest about the kinds of things that your child might experience when they get to college is going to put them in in a position where they’re far better prepared to make correct, informed decisions.
Don’t call constantly
When your child flies the nest for the very first time, the temptation to check in with them a lot of the time is going to be incredibly powerful. After all, you’ve probably not gone more than a day or two without talking to them for their entire life and all of a sudden they’re off living their own life and you’re left at home just waiting for them. It can make your home feel empty and it can be incredibly sad. However, it’s essential that you remember that it’s not really about you in this situation, it’s about them.
Sure, you might miss them horribly and want to check that they’re alright all of the time, but they’re trying to live their life and carve out a sense of independent identity for themselves. That’s something you have to respect and part of that is giving them space. Sure, check in now and then, but if you end up calling them every day then you’re just going to end up pulling them out of the life that they’re trying to create for themselves.
Make sure they know that home is always there
Of course, that doesn’t mean that the moment your child goes off to college they’re going to forget that you exist. The reality is that most kids end up finding themselves feeling more than a little homesick sometimes when they’re at college. The best thing you can do is to make sure that they always know that home is there when they need it. Even something as simple as setting them up with a phone plan like https://smarty.co.uk/blog/student-sim so that they’re always able to get in touch with you when they need it can be great. Knowing that you’re always going to be there for them will make the college experience a whole lot less scary for your kids.
The reality is that this might be a big moment for you, watching your child head off into the adult world for the very first time. However, you need to remember that no matter how much of a big moment this is for you, it pales in comparison to how much of a significant moment it is in their life. You might be scared to see them go, but put yourself in their shoes for a moment and think about how scared they probably are to leave. All of this is totally new to them and they’re entering into an unknown world that they may not feel at all ready for.
The most important thing for you to do is to make sure that you’re in their corner and you’re always cheering them on. The last thing they need on top of their own fears is to spend their time worrying about the impact that this is going to have on you as well.