It’s already that time of year again! Presumably, if your child is going away to college, the preparations are already well underway. It can be an overwhelming and emotional time for the whole family but it can also be a great opportunity for transitions and growth.
You’ve probably got everything under control but with so many moving parts, it’s easy to get caught up in the madness. Just in case, here are some tips and suggestions to consider as you send your teen off to college.
Teach Them to Budget
Even if you’ve done your part to teach your child how to budget over the years, review everything one more time but with college-related costs in mind. If they aren’t covering for room and board themselves, for example, they should still have an understanding of how much you’re paying.
They will want money to go to the movies, a football game, or a local hangout. Help them be aware of how to plan for these extras along with whatever expenses (transportation, school supplies) they should expect.
Sign Up For Loyalty Programs
There are a number of ways you can all save money and one of them is to enroll in loyalty programs. Whether it’s the grocery store, a chain restaurant or bookshop, many places will reward your patronage by allowing you to accumulate points.
It may not seem like much, at first, but when your child has punched their card enough to earn a free sub sandwich on a day when they are running low on cash, they will quickly appreciate the benefits of these programs.
Amazon Prime for Students
When it comes to bargain shopping, who doesn’t love Amazon? Your student can shop for dorm essentials, books, snacks, and so much more. Best of all, it’s free for the first six months and then offered at a discount for students after that.
In addition to free two-day shipping, Prime memberships include perks such as access to streaming services like Prime Music and Prime Instant Video. Some markets even include Prime Now which offers two-hour delivery on an extensive variety of products including fresh or frozen foods.
Learn the Dorm Rules
Before move-in day, carefully review the rules of the student residences to avoid problems. Can your child have guests of the opposite sex in their room? Are they allowed to use a slow cooker? Is there a curfew on campus? Is vaping forbidden? Avoid surprises by knowing the requirements and address any issues (including conflicts with a roommate) as they arise.
Talk About Consent
In all likelihood, your child has already heard about the Me Too movement and how this has impacted many areas of our lives. Regardless of what you think they know, however, it’s important that you have a conversation about consent. It’s probably going to be awkward but do it anyway.
Before you sit down, be sure that you are fully informed yourself. These can be murky waters and you want to make sure you are giving your child the best information possible. A great resource is RAINN’s “What Consent Looks Like” page. Ask your child if they feel like they understand consent and listen without judgment.
It can be hard to send children off to college but, if you spend the time making sure they feel prepared, it will be easier for everyone. Trust all that you’ve taught them over the years and make sure they know you’re there if they need you (they will!).