Whether it seemed like this day would never come or the years have flown by, if your child is headed off to college this fall you only have three months left to get ready. And it’s important to make sure your teen is not only prepared with the right school supplies and furniture.
But also that they have the life skills and good habits necessary to handle their upcoming independence. And your child isn’t the only one who needs to prepare themselves. As their parents, you are facing a big transition as well. Here are some tips you can use for getting ready this summer to send your kid off to college.
How to Get Ready for College the Summer Before
Getting ready for college the summer before is all about making sure that the many skills that your child needs to live on their own are developed before they go.
A big part of it is developing the life skills they need to be on their own, then of course there are many things to get ready before they leave!
Life Skills List for College
1. Personal Finance
Managing money independently for the first time is challenging for many college students. Before your child leaves home at the end of the summer make sure they have some basic personal finance knowledge to avoid problems managing their money.
Your child should know how to use a debit and credit card responsibly. And make sure your teen knows how to live within a budget and avoid going into debt.
If you’re setting your child up in an apartment instead of a dorm, make sure they know how and when to pay rent and other bills. Even if it isn’t necessary for a dorm their first year, chances are it will be important in another year. Two at most.
Although many college students are on a meal plan through their school, many kids end up cooking for themselves at least occasionally.
And basic cooking skills will serve your child well all of their life. Knowledge of cooking and basic nutrition can also help your college-bound kid avoid developing unhealthy eating habits.
Spending quality time teaching your teen to cook this summer could be fun. And a great way to spend some quality time while teaching important skills.
I love this WebMD article, Cooking 101 For Your College-Bound Kid as a place to start.
Back when I was a college student myself, I knew an astounding number of fellow students who left home with no idea how to do their own laundry.
From my roommate who had no idea you had to clean the lint trap on the dryer to my friend who washed their clothes in fabric softener because he didn’t know it was different from detergent. Don’t let this be your college kid.
Make sure your teen knows how to sort, wash, dry and fold clothes, towels, and linens properly.
4. Basic Cleaning
This is pretty broad but before sending your kid off to a home of their own, make sure they know the basics of household cleaning. Many kids leave home without basic knowledge of cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming or even washing dishes.
Even if you’ve been assigning chores since your child was a toddler, it’s a good idea to go over these things and make sure they have a broad range of skills. Their future roommates will thank you!
5. Time Management Skills
Time management is so huge. Organizational skills and knowing how to use your time wisely can make or break a college student’s academic performance.
Some people are born organized and if this is your kid, you may have nothing to worry about. But if you’ve spent your college-bound kid’s high school years waking them up when they ignored their alarm, reminding them to complete homework, or driving to their school with their forgotten textbook, they are in for a rough time without you at college.
Take some time this summer to work with your teen on time management skills. They may need to practice getting up on their own for their summer job. Or doing chores without being reminded. Here are some other tips to help teach good time management.
The Big Shopping Trip
Even though it is usually only one room, when you are setting up your kid’s dorm room you need lots of stuff. No matter how small it is, you are still setting up a whole new household.
Basics like linens, dishes, and lamps are just a few of the things you’ll need to purchase. The computer equipment needed for the modern day college student could fill a whole separate article. After some careful searching, I found this to be the most comprehensive checklist of what to buy when you’re preparing to send your kid off to college. Check it out!
Going shopping for your college-bound kid’s dorm room and school supplies is a big milestone. And can be a fun activity to enjoy with your teen.
They may want to do some of their shopping with their friends or alone. But I encourage you to do at least some of the shopping together. It may be one of your last parent and child shopping trips for awhile.
One Last Family Summer
While it’s true you may have many summers ahead of you where your college kid returns home, it will never be quite the same. This is the last summer before your teen heads off on their own for the first time. And you want to make the most of this chance for some quality family time before they go.
Of course, your college-bound kid is going to want to spend time with their friends this summer. And will probably have a job. But make sure to schedule in some family time. And not just time to spend teaching time management or how to do laundry. There needs to be time for fun.
Consider sitting down at the start of the summer and creating a family bucket list of fun things to do before you send your kid off to college.
Then take the next step and plan and schedule them out to make sure busyness doesn’t keep you from making your fun family summer a reality. In the fall when your well-prepared college kid heads off to school you’ll both enjoy looking back at your memories of summer fun.
Ready for Fall
Devoting some time to getting your kid and yourself ready this summer for when they leave for college will hopefully make the transition easier for both of you. It’s a big change made easier with preparation.