Tips for Starting University for your kids

When your child flies the nest to go to university, it can be scary for both of you! However, there are ways you can prepare for this new stage in your lives to make it easier. With the excitement of leaving home for the first time, sometimes the effect on parents is overlooked. Moving away is hard for both sides and, in order to make the transition easier, you both need to prepare.
When your child is off to Varsity….

Be positive!
They may not show it, but every new student worries about flying the nest for the first time. Not only are they on their own for the first time in a new environment, but these next three or four years could decide their future career – serious pressure!

No matter the fears or concerns you have, put them aside and embrace the experience for your student-to-be – it’ll make the transition easier for them knowing that you’re fully behind it. Shop together for varsity items and discuss concerns you both have along the way. It’s reassuring for students to hear they aren’t the only ones that are a little anxious.

Create a list of essentials in advance
One of the biggest stresses about university is having everything you need before you leave. Creating a checklist as soon as possible will ensure the only thing that you’re worrying about on moving day is the emotional goodbye.

Pack a survival kit
One of the biggest changes for teens leaving home is not having the safety net of a parent / guardian to do their washing or buy food. While it is their responsibility now, everyone slips up at some point, whether it’s financial planning or just the fact that shops have closed.

When packing, grab a selection of food that can be stored for a while (noodles, tins, frozen goods) in case of emergencies. The same applies for basic medicines and toiletries – they could really make a difference!

Try to set a budget before they leave
The student loan is an amazing tool for students, if used wisely! Having a large sum of money put into your bank account (especially if you’re only used to a part-time wage) could tempt some into splurging on what they consider key items like televisions, or blow it all on nights out – leading to sticky financial situations later.

Before your prospective student leaves, sit down with them and create a budget that factors in rent, phone bills and at least one trip home (in case homesickness sets in). Split the remainder for food, nights out and savings – a little bit of money each week will enable them to visit friends or holiday. While tedious, it’s a new opportunity for you to pass on any tips you may have!

Get cooking!
Until your teen leaves for university, get them in the kitchen with you when you cook family meals if they aren’t there already. Teaching them simple and healthy recipes in the comfort of their own home will set them up perfectly for looking after themselves.

It’s also important to highlight the dangers that improper food preparation can cause. Keep your teen away from food poisoning by telling them the dangers of cross contamination (raw meat and cooked meat) as well as ways to identify when a food product is past its best.

Have “the talk”
It’s going to be uncomfortable for both parent and prospective student alike, but university is a place where students interact and form important relationships – some of them with not-so-nice people. Pregnancy or STI’s are many parents’ biggest fears when sending their teen away, so you both need to be clued up on the facts and the best sexual health for your child. It would also be prudent to inform them of resources available to them on campus for any eventuality.

Keep in touch
University life is pretty hectic; especially in the first year. Working, social lives and sports clubs seem to take up every spare second when you first hit the university scene, so don’t be offended if your new student isn’t glued to their phone! That doesn’t mean they don’t want to speak to you.

Either arrange a date and time to call before they leave, or give them a ring once they’ve had time to settled in and catch up. Nobody wants to admit it but a phone call from your loved one can do wonders. It’s also a great way to stop homesickness from hindering their studies and social lives!

Let your child know you’re there for them.
They may be adults now, but being out in the big wide world for the first time is a terrifying prospect at any age.
Recent studies have shown that having the support of a parent / guardian when needed makes better grades, so whether it’s a phone call, text or surprise trip for dinner make yourself available for your student in their time of need.
While there is a range of support offered on-site at universities, nothing beats spending time with your family.