Helping Your College Student Survive on Their Own

Now that your child is back off to college and things around the house are quieter, you finally have the time and space to do the things that you’ve always wanted do.  Maybe you want to learn how to paint.  Or perhaps crafting is more your thing.  Whatever your new hobby may be, the empty nest gives you time to explore your passions.  Sometimes, however, things may get a little lonely around the house. After all, you’ve been taking care of your child for the past 19 years, watching them grow and develop into their own person.  As parents, letting your child go explore the world and tackle their own problems can be down-right terrifying, but necessary nonetheless. Even though they have to make their own place in the world, you can make it a little easier for them by helping them conquer a few of the most common challenges college students face.

 

Finances:

One of the biggest adjustments for students is learning to manage their own finances. If you haven’t already done so, now is the perfect time to sit down and help them figure out a budget. Teach them how to track their expenses and make sure they know it is okay to set money aside for entertainment and extra-curricular activities. You may want to help by setting up a joint checking account with your child if you plan to help out with any monthly expenses, as this will make it easier for both of you to access the account as needed.

 

Additionally, when your child decides to move to off-campus housing, a joint checking account is one of the easiest ways to help your child pay the rent.  Simply deposit the money at your local branch and your child can issue a check to their landlord.

 

Nutrition:

Oh, the days of eating ramen noodles and cold cereal for every meal. If you’d like to save your child from the bad eating habits you developed in college, there are a few ways you can help ensure they eat a little healthier.

 

Since students love receiving unexpected packages, and snack foods are always a plus, consider investing in a food-delivery service such as Love with Food or Nature Box. These services deliver healthy snacks right to your student’s mailbox.  You could also send a book of your favorite recipes so your child can cook up a batch of Mom’s famous chili or chicken noodle soup when they are longing for a taste of home.

 

Clean clothes:

If your child is struggling to figure out the ins and outs of the laundry room, or simply just hates to do laundry, there are a few ways you can help make it a little easier and more fun for them.

 

This article lists some clever tips and tricks when it comes to doing laundry.  I especially like the idea of using a mesh bag to wash socks so you never lose a mate!

 

I remember seeing somewhere this fun and personalized laundry bag that had instructions and tips to avoid the most common laundry fiascos, and it even ended with a clever quip to bring home the laundry to mom if all else failed. Even if your child is settled far from home, this little reminder can help them feel a little more confident when they are out on their own.

 

Staying on top of classes:

Being away at college for the first time can be intimidating, but it quickly becomes exhilarating as your child learns to live on their own, create their own schedules and set their own priorities. While this is a great learning experience, it can be costly to their education if they get too caught up in college life and forget about their homework.

 

A simple way to help stay on top of things is to create a Google Calendar. Your child can share the calendar with you (or not) so you can subtly ask about their term paper and other projects. Additionally, Google Calendar will send reminders to your student’s phone or email address when important events are coming up; this will help ensure they don’t forget a last minute group meeting or an important test.

 

Just because your student is off on their own at college doesn’t mean you can’t help them adjust to their new-found freedom. Letters and packages from home, phone calls and quick emails are a great way to remind them you’re still there for support without taking away their freedom. Take a few deep breathes and realize that in a few weeks you too will adjust, even if a bit begrudgingly, to their new-found freedom.

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