Going away for college is a stressful, exciting and scary experience… for the parents, of course. The kids? They are just too excited to begin the next chapter of their lives in a place full of people with similar mindsets and interests. But here, let’s focus on the parents. Your kid is going away from home, perhaps to another part of the world, and you are probably feeling terrified. Asking yourself everything from whether you’ve done enough to prepare them for the world and living away from home to how well they really can sort out the laundry. Either way, the time has come, and here are the last few things that you should be doing before the kids are off:
Visit the bank
If your kid isn’t going to be close by, they are going to need a way to get money into their pocket. If they don’t already have one, make sure you open up a debit card in their name. Some banks offer you a way to link their card to yours, so that you can instantly transfer money to them when they are in a pickle. If they aren’t that good with managing their finances, then setting up an automated payment of their weekly allowance is a good way to get them to learn how much money they can spend.
In case they are moving to a different country, you should look for a bank that exists in both countries, or that has a partnership with one of your local banks, so that you can take care of any potential problems quickly. You also want to make sure they know how to use an ATM, stay safe while online shopping and access their online banking account.
Make them as independent as possible
The few months before they move, you might want to baby them completely while they are still there, but you would be doing them a disservice. This is the time when you want them to learn how to cook a meal (even if it’s a microwaved mug meal), how to sort their laundry and turn on the washing machine, how to dust and clean up their room, how to pack their own lunch, clean their shoes, iron their clothes and do basically every daily activity they will be doing from now on when they are away. Make sure you’re not pampering them too much now, because if you let them go without teaching them these basic skills, they will have a lot more trouble down the line.
Get comfortable with the new accommodation
When you are moving into a new city or country, you need to get to know the place in order for it to start feeling like home. If they’re going to be in a big city, then you want the accommodation to be in the best possible location. If you’re looking for comfortable student accommodation in Sydney, you’d better make sure that it’s in the best possible place regarding distance to both the college and activities around the city. Make sure you go there at least once before their actual move: take a look at the rooms and the facilities, take a tour of the college, and most importantly: use local public transportation to get around. The sooner they get comfortable with using public transportation, the freer they will feel once they move there and they’re on their own.
Make a plan for meet-ups
Being apart, especially if it’s for the first time in your lives, can be extremely difficult for both you and them, not to mention if they aren’t that quick at making new friends. This is why it’s important to always have the next meet-up planned. Whether that’s going to be Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other family holiday, make sure you all know when you’re going to see each other again. On top of that, you should set aside some time for Skype or at least a phone call. Don’t make it out of the blue, because you might call at a bad time, but rather have a schedule when you will all put away some time for a call. It’s okay if these calls are more frequent in the beginning, but…
Learn how to let go
You can’t keep your kid in your lap forever. Once they are off to college, it’s their time to shine. They are going to meet new people, engage in as many activities as they can and they will change in ways you might not expect. They will always need your support, sometimes your guidance, but they won’t need you to pull them back. After a few months, they maybe won’t be able to take time every day to call you, and they might not tell you everything that is going on in their lives, and that’s okay. They’re growing up and you gotta let them fly.
So, make sure you use the most of the time you have with them wisely, and put it in their head that you will always be there for them when they need you. And then, watch them leave and flourish, knowing that the things you did to prepare them are giving them the best possible start they could get.