7 Life Lessons to Teach Your Kids Going to College

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There comes a time in many parents’ lives where they must cut the strings and send their son and/or daughter off to college.  While this can be a rather sad time, at the same time there is always sense of pride and excitement that comes with knowing your child is taking the next steps into adulthood.  Of course, as parents it is your duty to prepare your child for what is to come and what to avoid.  Below are seven life lessons every parent should teach their kid before beginning the most exciting years of their lives.

 

1. Wash Linens and Make Your Bed

Building great habits is extremely crucial.  Even though you aren’t around to make sure things are neat and tidy every day, it is important to instill cleanliness values so that they follow through on their own while away from home. Get your students prepared with everything they need to succeed, like OCM’s laundry hampers. Additionally, studies have shown that people who wake up and make their beds before stepping out for the day lead much more clear-headed, organized lives.  Accomplishing this first task of the day will help establish a small sense of pride, and get you ready and able to take on more tasks throughout the day.

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2. Save Your Cents

Each year, more and more college students are graduating already in debt.  With that being said, it is never too early to teach your kids to start saving for future loan paybacks.  Money habits at this age set the tone for later on.  If you notice something off about their money spending habits early on, this will only escalate once they are independent.  Your son or daughter needs to be well aware that money is finite, and what you run out of will not come back unless more is earned

3. Get a Part-time Job

While no student should ever take on a full-time, intensive job that could get in the way of studies, a part-time job can be extremely beneficial.  Not only will it help with spending cash and savings, but having a part-time job is a fantastic character-building experience.  It gives them a taste for a future in the workplace, insight on how to juggle a busy schedule, and help for meeting new people outside of their classrooms.  Almost every college and university offers a ton of job options within a work-study program, where students can earn extra cash working on campus.

4. Work Hard, For Yourself

There is no better path to a strong sense of self-respect than honest work.  Teach your kids to embrace working hard and always going the extra mile, and they will discover, early on, the depth of their own potential and abilities.  It is only until you give something your absolute best effort will you know if you can be good at it.

5. Plan for the Future

It is important that your child deliberates about his or her life regularly.  Have them think about what their ultimate peace looks like, and it will help make a clear path through the steps needed to get there.  Consider using dry erase calendars and having them make a list of goals and aspirations, both short-term and long-term, before they leave home to refer back to as a working road map throughout college. Having a clear sense of the future helps to instill purpose outside of one’s self and gives meaning to the quest for ultimate happiness.

6. Be Kind

There are infinite benefits in being kind to others.  It usually doesn’t cost anything or take much time to help someone in a pickle, notice a success, or offer a compliment.  Being kind to your peers and mentors will help establish a positive reputation and just might open new doors for your child in the future.

7. Don’t be Afraid to Fail

College is a time to push your boundaries and challenge yourself in ways never done before.  Since no one is perfect, this adversity always presents some bumps along the way.  Failure is among one of the best ways to grow and learn as an individual, so never be afraid of it.  Life is too short to always play it safe in fear of messing up.  Teaching your kids how to brush themselves off after defeat is one of the most beneficial life lessons.

Preparing for “Good Bye”

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It is a moment we know as parents will come one day, and for some of us that realization happens hours after they enter our lives. We only have 17 years with these beautiful creatures before they leave our nest and go out into the world to experience “life”. How can we possibly teach them everything they need to know before they become adults in the eyes of the nation? How can they possibly be adults, when they are still our “babies”? As the end of their senior year approaches and life shifts into the fast lane, at full speed, we as parents have to take a moment to enjoy the ride as well.

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Take the extra picture, make a day out of shopping for the prom dress, celebrate each acceptance letter, plan something special for graduation and make the most out of the summer together, because before you know it the end of August will be here. You’ll be shopping for all of their Dorm room essentials, picking out the best supplies, and maybe even updating their wardrobe.

The world of emotions that will be felt will vary from happy, excited, overwhelmed, proud, sad, nervous, and afraid; but through it all be confident. Confident that all lessons you have tried to teach your child have been learned and they will be okay. Prepare for those first few weeks that may be filled with sad calls of missing home, but also prepare for those calls that tell you how great everything is and how much they love it.  Because, let’s be honest, as a parent it’s going to hurt a little anyway.