Preparing Your Young Person for University
My daughter has just finished her first year at university and before she left home she had pretty good cooking skills but definitely lacked the ability to live on a tight budget and knew very little about running a house!
So, with A-level results looming, how can YOU prepare your young person for the big step to leaving home?
Harry, a first year student at Leeds Becket University says one of the best things his mum did for him was to send him off to university with the ability to cook 5-6 basic recipes.
“Mum gave me half a dozen easy and cheap recipes and she also gave me a list of utensils and some basic store cupboard ingredients, which really helped me in the first few weeks”.
But practical skills are more than just cooking. Make sure they can use a washing machine and load a dishwasher (yes you did read that correctly), and show them how to post a letter and where to put the stamp!
How to budget
How to budget is the most useful thing you can teach your young person before they head off to university. Unfortunately, many young people leave home without knowing how to create a budget or how to balance a checkbook.
Their student loan can seem like a huge amount of money when it lands in their bank account and there’s often a real temptation to hit the shops and spend, spend, spend. Talk to your child about basic money management skills to include the dangers of credit card debt, the risks involved with taking out additional private student loans, and the importance of investing money. How to make their money last could prevent them struggling in the last couple of weeks before their next instalment. And if your young person is good with money, that will benefit you too!
How to keep safe
Teach your young person to go out in a group and come home in a group and stick to well-lit and well used areas. Excess alcohol can blur their judgment and senses and make them more vulnerable. Talk to them about keeping their drink in sight and not to accept drinks from people they don’t know well.
How to avoid a hangover
University is often an alcohol fuelled environment from the very first day, so teaching your kids to be responsible and to know their limits could well come in handy during freshers' week. They also need to know what to do if they drink too much and if your young person doesn't drink it’s still worth having a conversation with them to talk to them about navigating the drinking culture without feeling left out.
How to cycle safely
Whilst cycling is a cheap alternative to public transport, if your young person is used to cycling along country lanes, cities like Manchester, Liverpool and London can be a real shock. Encourage your child to take an advanced cycling class. Many London boroughs offer free cycling safety courses and Bikeability have classes around the country.
How to deal with an emergency
If your young person has to deal with an emergency, there will be no time for them to think so it's a good idea for parents to take the time to teach their teens how to effectively deal with emergencies before they leave home home.
Make sure your teen knows what to do when the power is out or the cell phone towers are down, too. Kids who have grown up with technology often forget that in times of true emergency, electronics aren't always available.
How to be independent
University is a time where people begin to figure out who they are and what they want to become. Learning how to juggle coursework, extra-curricular activities and a social life can be stressful, but it's also something that they will figure out on their own.
Every young person will find their own way, but moving forward is so much easier for students if life skills have been passed on before they go away.