Although my daughter still has a few years of being carefree and blissful at our family home, in one of our recent conversations, we’ve stumbled upon the topic of college. And then it hit me! Time is slipping away and I wouldn’t be a good Aussie mom if I didn’t start thinking about all the things we’re supposed to do before she leaves. Of course, she has her plans and a vision of rainbows and butterflies that await her once she gets her freedom (yes, that’s what she calls it as if she’s been in a prison since she was born) and moves to Melbourne. Luckily, there’s a whole list of things in my head that will prepare her and the rest of us for her departure. Here are some of those things.
Help them learn
The kids’ chores usually only come down to cleaning their own room and occasionally doing the washing-up. That’s why you should use the time before they leave to teach them some basic survival skills, like doing the laundry and cooking some basic meals. Have them cook dinner once a week, or do the laundry once or twice a month, just to be sure they know how to separate it properly and turn the washing machine on. Show them how to iron their clothes and fold them once they’re clean. They’ll have to pay their own bills, so take them to the bank with you and show them how. Teach them how to clean the bathroom, how to mail a letter or how to pick the best-value groceries in the supermarket and store them adequately.
Help them find information
Your kid’s only ever lived where you did, so they have no idea how to find a good place to stay. So, help them by finding the best student accommodation Melbourne CBD can offer, meaning that they’re either within a walking distance from their desired college, or that they have a direct public transport line to and from college. Consider taking a college tour, and make sure you explore their future neighborhood, so that you can find a 24/7 pharmacy, a good doctor and a dentist, in case of emergency. Look for good places to eat, since there must be places offering affordable home-cooked meals for students. Make sure they know all the emergency services’ numbers, just to be on the safe side.
Help them make a financial plan
Talking about finances is important since you don’t really realize how much money goes where when you live with your parents. Put everything on paper and show them how much they’ll be able to get from you and how much of that will be needed for fixed expenses, so that they are aware of what they’ll be left with. If they don’t think that what you’ll give them will cover all their needs, they still have time to get a summer job, or tell them about the student jobs available to them. Teach them how to rationalize their money and to carry only the cash they need on them, in case of a mugging.
Help them deal with their emotions
Talk to your child and let them know it’s OK to feel insecure, as well as excited. Prepare them for the new experiences and make sure they know that they can talk to you about anything. Be honest and open, and they’ll probably reciprocate. They need to know it’s normal to be homesick, especially at first. Tell them that you will visit them from time to time and that you’ll talk on the phone whenever they (or you) have the need to. If necessary, have them talk to somebody who’s already a college student, to hear about some first-hand experiences.
Help them pack
You’ll probably need to assist them with packing, step by step. They are moving to a smaller place, so they need to be smart about packing. Don’t pack all their clothes, only the ones for the upcoming season. Make sure you’re in touch with their roommate, if they have one. Having two toasters, ironing boards or vacuum cleaners is completely unnecessary. Prepare basic sewing and toolkits for them, as well as some elementary dishes. Make certain they take some essential medicaments, if you know they have frequent headaches or toothaches or any other health issues. And find room in the suitcase for them to bring something that reminds them of home, like a family photo, their favorite mug or a childhood toy.
Preparing your child and yourself for this type of change can help remove some of the stress once it really happens. Plus, it will allow you some quality time together before they leave. So, start early and be ready on time.