Your son or daughter heading off to college is a real milestone in life. So many emotions are swirling around, it can be difficult to know what to do to help them make the transition. After all, if you try and micromanage every aspect of their life, you’ll be sending them off without any of the real skills they need to be able to live independently. Yet you still want to give them any support you can to help with the transition. This support could be emotional, logistical or even financial.
So how can you make the transition from high school kid to college freshman, that little bit easier for both of you?
Accept that you’re going to feel a range of emotions
Some parents dread the thought of their children leaving the family home. It’s a huge mental and emotional adjustment to make that they aren’t going to be there anymore. These emotions can show themselves as something similar to grief. Or, some people look forward to this next step, when their children can go out into the world and they can gain some of their independence back and make decisions that aren’t solely based on their children. However you’re feeling, there’s no right or wrong.
Chances are, they’re going to be really excited about heading off to college and getting their freedom.
If they’re attending a nearby college, chances are you’ll be seeing them fairly regularly, usually with a bag of laundry in tow.
Help them out with the logistics
There’s so much to do to get everything ready for college. There’s the paperwork, financing, finding accommodation, doing all the prep work for classes, and that’s even before they get there. It can be a little overwhelming and it’s easy for things to get missed.
It might help you both if you help them out with the planning. It will take some tasks off their plate and give your something to focus on. Help them with paperwork or organise to have their things delivered via Shiply or a self-hire.
Start building their life skills early
If you’re reading this and college is still a few years away, then you can use this time to help your child build the life skills and common sense they need to live independently.
This can include giving them a greater amount of freedom in their final years of high school, teaching them budgeting skills and how to look after their own personal safety. By doing this, they won’t suddenly go from someone who has everything done for them, to having to figure out how to live independently, practically overnight.
College is a huge step in everyone’s life, both for the person heading off and the family they’re moving away from. You need to realise that it’s going to bring up some complex emotions but these will soon pass as you get used to this new way of life, it’s important to capture the moment. In the meantime, there are plenty of things that you can do to help them prepare and make the whole transition easier for them and you.