You love your children. They are forever your babies and you hate watching them struggle through parts of life they just don’t know anything about. However, college is a chapter of life that is coming for most of our children and as much as we would like to be there for them every step of the way, there comes a time when they need to learn to live on their own and take care of complications independently. There are a few ways you can help them prepare for it. Below are three of those ways.
Teach Them Housekeeping
Those of us who have lived in the adult world for a few years understand how overwhelming simple housekeeping chores can be when we come home from a long week at work or are having a stressful time with loved ones. Being able to easily complete them and keep up with them is a talent that many parents overlook when teaching their children about the responsibilities of life.
If you ask them, adults who simply make their bed in the morning will tell you that after a day where they feel like they have failed in every way, slipping under the covers of made bed helps them salvage a feeling of accomplishment and can act as a hug at the end of a long day. Teach your kids how to make their bed. It will give them a good start to every day. Show them how to do their own laundry. Take them grocery shopping with you.
Show them how to put healthy foods in the fridge and pantry without spending an arm and a leg. Help them to understand the link between how clean their dorm is and their health. These may seem like simple tasks, but they will help your child maintain sanity in a time of their life where they may feel like they have little of it.
Show Them How to Budget Time and Money
Many of us know how important it is to be able to budget our time and money. Unfortunately, many of us know because we have been the students of failure. While a child is in high school, there are many things that take up their time. However, the majority of them are recreational.
Sure, they have school and homework and some of them have jobs, but the mass amount of time is either spent sleeping or hanging out with friends. When they go to college, they are suddenly immersed in a lifestyle that requires them to get up on time for classes, make loads of time for study and homework, work a job, and keep up with their own housekeeping as explained above.
That’s not considering the time the will need for hanging out with friends and the much-needed sleep they will have to have in order to keep up with it all. It is easy for a college student to quickly find him/herself out of balance. The same is true with money. An out of balance budget is sure to predict disaster. Teach your children how to do both before they leave home.
Let Them Fail
This is probably the hardest thing for any parent to do. Failure hurts us and them, but the truth is unless they are allowed to experience it, they will never learn how to navigate through it and do better the next time. For their whole lives, you have been there and kept them safe and sound.You told them no when they asked to borrow the car for a night out with their friends because you knew the friends that were going were not good for your child.
You warned them not to take two math classes in one year because it would demand more time than you knew they would want to devote to it. You also warned them about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. With that said, there are times you will NEED to step back and let them fall. It’s a good idea to give them room to fail while they are still at home.
This will allow you to get an idea of how they deal with it and help you to teach them how to find their way back to level ground in a healthy way. They WILL experience failure in life when at times you are not around to help them. Teaching them how to survive failure may be the lesson that leads them to the greatest success.
College is, most of the time, a child’s first real experience without having Mom and Dad to constantly fall back on. Show your children how much you love them by giving them the tools they need to survive without you.