4 Essential Life Skills for High Schoolers to Build Before College
Sending your children off to college is a time of mixed emotions for parents as well as children. You have been looking forward to this day but when the time actually comes everyone is excited as well as scared. The child/children that you have watched over and cared for is now on their own. The whole idea of their independence scares you; then you begin to wonder, will their bad habits come out and find their laundry strung all over their dorm leaving them noting to wear? Will they overspend money on all the wrong things and be calling you for a loan before the first quarter is over? Will they forget the importance of a balanced diet and resort to a life of pizza and chips? What if they ignore their academics and spend all their time partying and doing other crazy things?
It is normal to be worried but there are ways to deal with these fears before they happen. While your child/children are still in high school you can work on ways to make easier for them to transition to being independent. This not only helps alleviate your anxiety but will also help alleviate they anxiety as they make the transition into adulthood.
To help your child/children make this transition, there are a few essential life skills you can help your highschooler build. These will give them an edge and help them with what is probably the first independence of their lives.
Taking Care of Money
This is very crucial, as it might be the first time they are going to be on their own entirely and have to manage their individual financial needs. Most will stop getting an allowance or allotted amount of support from their parents for their own needs.
Even if they are getting a certain amount of money from their parents or working a part-time job, taking care of money is a vital skill that must be instilled into them from high school before they leave to college if they are not going to be stranded.
Start by setting up their own banking account and assigning yourself as the co-signer so you have access to the records. Teach them to balance a checkbook, set aside money for emergencies, and other financial skills that help foster financial independence.
There are some inevitable occurrences in college whether you are willing to accept it or not. College rape, underage partying and drinking, and drugs are some of the dangerous acts that they may encounter while in college.
Many times even the innocent ones get influenced or affected by these acts from peer pressure .Teaching high schoolers how to be safe and stay away from trouble goes a long way. It is also important that they become familiar with their new school’s security offices and the local police department location in case any scenario comes up.
Remind them the importance of not driving under the influence or riding in the car with someone who is under the influence. Offer them money for a cab/taxi if they find themselves in that situation if they call you any time of the night.
Another necessary skill to learn is getting around their new area. Invest in a local map even though cell phones have GPS, there is a chance they could find themselves with a dead battery or in a dead zone. This way they are prepared. It is also an excellent idea for students to acquire some specific essential skills, like changing their tires, checking oil levels, and ensuring they have enough gas. No one wants to be stranded in a new area that they are not familiar with and hours away from family to help them out.
Whether or not they have a car, it is important to understand the areas local public transport (if available) and how to get to locations they will need to visit like the doctor’s office, grocery store, local hospital, and shopping centers. Having an understanding of their new environment ahead of time will make the transition smoother.
Shopping and Cooking
Students are known to be the laziest when it comes to cooking or shopping for their food. Most of them are used to eating well prepared homemade meals, and immediately they get to school all the homemade foods become fewer, then they begin to depend mainly on takeouts and fast food which affects them health-wise and financially.
The best thing is to teach them from high school how to shop and even cook their food, it might initially seem difficult and inconvenient while they are acquiring this skill, but they will thank you for it later.
These are just some of the essential life skills necessary for high schoolers as they transition to college life. It is important to foster self-independence and be willing to let them learn from their mistakes while they are still at home so they will be prepared when they are on their own. Giving them space helps them to grow and if they know you trust them, they will learn to trust themselves.
James, an educational adviser and motivational speaker at Smiletutor.sg. He has been helping students and their parents in all aspects of education. He believes that high-schoolers can make their college life more comfortable by building specific life skills.