Today, guest poster Lucy Wyndham is going to discuss how “Preparing Your Child for College is More than Academic Readiness.”
As the mother of two toddlers, I confess I haven’t given much thought to college preparation beyond the financial aspect of starting 529 College Savings Plans for the kids. But Lucy shares why teaching your child practical skills at home is such an important step in preparing your child for college.
Preparing Your Child for College is More Than Academic Readiness
There is probably nothing worse than seeing your child off to college knowing that they are not prepared for the challenges of life away from home. But with the right preparation and planning, your offspring can survive the trials and tests in a different environment. Teaching them basic skills, giving kids their freedom and nurturing their emotional readiness while at home can increase their chances of coping well with a new life. A joint survey sponsored by the Jordan Porco Foundation, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the JED Foundation indicated that 60% of students interviewed wished they were better prepared emotionally for college while 50% said that their independent living skills could be improved.
Teach the Basics
It may seem mundane but you, in fact, are doing most of the things at home for your kid whether washing their clothes, cooking meals or cleaning their rooms. The truth is being in college is all about independence that comes with a price. If your future student cannot even pick up their stuff, clean their rooms or prepare their own food, then something is very wrong.
AVG Technologies study shows that 57% of children 3-5 years can navigate smartphones but do not know practical or basic skills such as tying shoes or preparing a cereal breakfast. The Sainsbury poll of students indicated that 30% cannot boil an egg, 42% do not know how to iron, 50% have no clue how to use a tumble dryer and 35% cannot pay bills. To avoid falling into this trap, start early. It never hurts to immerse kids in work whether it is yard duties or household tasks.
Participating in and learning household chores can make the transition easy once they leave home for college. If they have these skills, it can also help improve the atmosphere in their dorms, foster respect for each other’s space, keep communal spaces neat and promote harmony.
Financial responsibility is also part of this training. Begin by giving them a small allowance that they should manage. Add your student as an authorized user of a credit card to teach about payments and expense management. It can also help build their credit scores at an early age and will educate them how to consolidate student loans if needed later on.
Beyond Practical Tasks
Perhaps the best service you can do for your kids is to let them learn from their own mistakes. Helicopter parenting will not help them discover their capabilities and coping mechanism when you are there to pick up the pieces. Start by giving them responsibilities and freedom to make small decisions. Do not do their homework for them and avoid intervening on their behalf. Encourage them to talk to their teachers or an authority in school if they feel that they have not deserved their marks. It can help improve their self-confidence and lets them learn about the importance of speaking up. Emotional readiness is enhanced when your child is independent enough to be by themselves and can make responsible decisions. They should possess social & relationship skills allowing them to adapt easily to new environments.
At the end of the day, their training at home matters the most when it comes to coping with the tasks and challenges that await them in college. Without this valuable experience and emotional intelligence, college is something that is dreadful and stressful that can lead to bigger problems in the future.
Readers: What steps are you taking to prepare your child for college?