Sending a child off to university is a bittersweet experience. Sure, you get your freedom back a little, but your little boy or girl is all grown up and off on an adventure you can’t oversee. The easiest way to assuage your apprehension is to make sure they are prepared for the experience. But how can you do that?
One thing to bear in mind is that you will have to let go. These preparations are not a means for you to hold on, but a means for you to ensure they are as well-prepared as possible for what lies ahead. If you start working on it around the time they leave college, you can be sure you’ll have enough time to make sure everything is sorted.
One thing that university students struggle with almost universally, is budgeting. If you sit down with your son or daughter and discuss their incoming money and their outgoings, you can help them set up a budget that will allow them to control their spending and hopefully cut down on the need to eat nothing but Super Noodles for weeks on end. Be sure to budget in some spends; almost all university students go out to the pub on a regular basis, and pretending it isn’t going to happen will only lead to a budget that doesn’t work for its intended beneficiary.
Clothes are relatively expensive, and as a student it can be hard to get a hold of laundry facilities on a regular or reliable basis. Setting aside a bit of money and taking your son or daughter shopping for clothes and high-quality shoes is an excellent idea, as it will set them up with a reasonable wardrobe right from the start. Skimping on clothes may seem like a good plan as it will get you more clothes for your money, but remember that more expensive clothing tends to last longer.
Ensure that your child is able to reach you in case of emergency. Programme a reverse charge number into their phone or get them a plan with magic numbers. Also make sure they know they can call you if there is an issue such as a designated driver being drunk – it may cost you some money in terms of taxis or petrol, but will protect your child from getting into dangerous situations.
Starting university is a special time in any life, and it can be a confusing and difficult time for parent and child alike. But if you do some forward thinking you can expect the best possible outcome, and help your child take the next step towards full autonomy.