Before they make the next step in their higher education journey, it’s a good idea to make sure they’re equipped with essential skills for when term starts. As a parent, seeing your child (or children) step out into the world and leave home for the first time may be daunting or make you feel anxious. But by ensuring they’re well-prepared come September, you can set those worries aside by knowing you’ve provided them with a skill set and offered them plenty of support beforehand.
And, while they still may burn their food or make a mess of the laundry every so often, getting them ready in advance is always a good idea. Here’s a list of essential things to teach them in the run-up to moving to university.
It’s important for them not to fall into the habit of relying on either the temptations of the takeaway or making the same pasta-and-pesto fare with no variety when it comes to their eating habits.
If you have a regular family meal slot, try supervising them through cooking a selection of different meals that they can make away from home. Similarly, creating a small recipe book with easy-to-follow explanations will be much appreciated if they’re serious about getting busy in the kitchen. Plus, it can be a nice, comforting reminder of home for them, too! If it’s possible, go shopping with them on the day they move in, so they have an idea of what a well-rounded shop looks like.
Depending what they’re like, your child either knows the importance of a clean living environment or they’re happy to let dirty plates stack up and allow the floor to become their wardrobe for a few weeks.
If they’re in the habit of letting things get messy, then teaching them a few cleaning tips can be valuable. Get them cleaning their own plates after every meal, filling the dishwasher and wiping down surfaces after they’ve prepared their own food. While it’s exciting for them to be away from home for the first time, it’s no excuse for them not to take care of their new living area themselves.
And remember, they’ll have a bathroom in their accommodation, which will be a breeding ground for all kinds of dirt and bacteria. It’s imperative for them to stay on top of this area, so teach them a few things about bathroom cleanliness before they go. And remember to pack some toiletries and cleaning items for them too!
If they’re travelling from abroad, the chances of them being able to bring their dirty clothes home with them for you to clean are pretty slim. If they’re not familiar with the process, there’s plenty that can go wrong, from accidental shrinkages to colours blending together.
Get them familiar with the ways of the washing machine before they move out by teaching them how to fill the machine, what settings to use, the importance of separating colours and any other top tips you feel are necessary. Their wardrobe will thank you for doing so!
Compared to what they may have been used to at school or college, university is comparatively less structured, so there’s a degree of self-motivation needed to make sure they’re getting the most out of their time there. Now, they’ll have to rely on themselves in order to do coursework, make their own meals and ensure they get plenty of sleep too. If time management is something they’ve struggled with, then get them in the habit of sticking to a routine. It doesn’t have to be especially strict, but getting them used to their new schedule can be highly beneficial.
This could be the first time that your child has had access to their own money on a daily basis. To avoid them spending it all in the first few weeks, a couple of tips on how to manage money can be useful. While having fun and treating themselves is a good idea, it’s important to get them into a budgeting mind-frame so they have money for transport, food and studying equipment. It may be worth discussing a weekly budget with them, so they know where they need to spend, and what to do with any spare cash they have remaining.
Additionally, you might want to provide additional financial support to them while they’re there, if you can afford it. Outline what you’ll provide them in advance – it pays to provide a reasonable amount here, you don’t want to go too overboard with the handouts, otherwise they’ll always be relying on you instead of learning how to intelligently budget themselves.
Of course, since it’s the first time that many students will be away from their parents, they might have a tendency to overdo it on nights out. And though this new-found freedom is certainly positive, it’s important that they know not to give in to peer pressure. Make sure they know to rehydrate after drinking alcohol, and that they’re well-versed in the potential dangers of drugs and other addictive substances.
University isn’t just about the practical skills, so make sure they know how to look after themselves too. It’s a daunting time, and they’re bound to feel a little anxious or nervous about what’s ahead. See what wellbeing support is available to them and make sure they know what processes to follow should they need to access it. In this regard, knowledge is power, and knowing there are people and methods that are there to help them can be massively reassuring.
If you’re looking for a student living experience that offers more, head over to the NIDO STUDENT SITE to see what properties are nearby or drop us a line on 0207 1000 100 for more information on our student residences.