Helping Kids Leave for College: What Every Parent Should Do This Summer

It's a long four years between freshman orientation and graduation. Be sure to get your kids ready for the journey.

School’s out for the summer, but for some kids, school will be the only thing on their mind during the next couple of months anyway, particularly if they’re heading off to college for the first time in the fall.

Whether a kid is going across the country or sticking close to home base, there are things parents can do to make the transition to college easier and more manageable.

Here are some important things to keep in mind as your child heads off to an institution of higher learning:

  • Stay In Touch 1 of 4
    Stay In Touch
    Between texting, Skyping, smartphones and email, being in contact with a child away from home has never been easier (or less expensive, assuming you have a good plan). While a parent and/or child may want to stay in touch daily, try to reach an agreement as to how often you'll connect. Too often and you might as well go hold you're child's hand; too infrequently and they might feel a bit abandoned and lost in addition to the emotional shock of being on their own for the very first time. Don't try to fight their battles, but be sure to be a good listener. And sending an actual letter or care package from time to time is kind of nice, too. Who doesn't like a good piece of snail mail every now and again?
  • Establish Smart Financial Habits 2 of 4
    Establish Smart Financial Habits
    Money doesn't grow on trees, despite what kids who've never worked a summer or part time job might think. The financial implications of college are large. It won't be long before they're really out in the real world, so it's time they learn what it means to be financially responsible. Talk to them about budgeting before they leave the nest and help them come up with a plan. They'll probably start getting credit and debit card offers, which means they need to understand how debt works and who — or won't — cover it for them if they rack some up. Set boundaries as to how much money you'll be giving them to live on, if any, and be clear about what your limitations are so they can take that into account before they go and buy pizza for the entire dorm during orientation week.
  • Stay Safe 3 of 4
    Stay Safe
    It doesn't matter where a kid goes to school — whether it's a big city or a small town, a small, private school or a large public university — safety is of utmost important. Some kids experiment with drugs and alcohol in high school, while others wait for their first sip or puff until college. Either way, the experience at colleges and universities can be a culture shock for many and kids need to be prepared to make responsible choices before they step foot into their first fraternity party. Talk about the consequences and dangers of substance abuse — physically, emotionally, academically and legally. All kids, but especially girls, should also know that campus isn't always the safest place to walk alone at night, and that doors should be locked when going to sleep.
  • Enjoy The Summer 4 of 4
    Enjoy The Summer
    The summer seems short, but make the most of it because whether you like it or not, family life will change once your offspring flies the coop. Some kids might be apprehensive about leaving, while others count the minutes. Either way, be sure to spend some quality time preparing kids while also just enjoying being together.

Source: Fox Business

Images: Wikipedia + Creative Commons

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