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5 Steps Parents Can Take Before The Transition to College

5 Steps Parents Can Take Before The Transition to College

One minute they’re young and fragile and you’re rocking them to sleep, and the next they are ready and raring to flee the nest with as much excitement and vigor as they once had for Chuck-E-Cheese and unicorns. Life is fleeting, and nothing is more evident of this than when your child goes away to college.

For a lot of us, thoughts of having our child stay close to home for college, maybe even taking online courses so they don’t have to go far away, has crossed our minds. As parents, the role we really need to play is more supportive and less overbearing at this point. You can and should help your child be aware of all the options available to them by looking at a list of all the schools in your state or taking a college tour together, but in the end the decision needs to be their own. Once I realized that, I avoided my daughter wanting to strangle me for not allowing her the freedom she desired at this point in her life and I was able get the reassurance and comfort that she was ready and able to be on her own. Here are the five things I found necessary to prepare both of us for the transition ahead.

Managing Finances

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    I am a true believer that there should be a serious focus on finances and managing a good budget in the junior and senior years of high school. Generally, kids graduate high school with no knowledge of how to manage their funds on their own. Whether you are able to help your child out financially while they are in college or not, if they do not know how to stretch that money, I can almost guarantee there will be a call for more finances or they will decide to take out loans to supplement the help — and spend that carelessly as well.

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    We live in a digital age, and trying to get kids to do anything on pen and paper has proven to be difficult. When I was going over a budget with my daughter, we did find several great budget apps that she could download right to her phone so that she always had them at her disposal. They also allowed her to begin saving for the trips she wanted to take.

    I didn’t have to pester her about her money situation (as much) and she was able to take control of her own finances and take that road trip to Havasu Falls like she wanted. Win win.

    Tech Support

    You don’t have to be tech savvy to have experienced the heartbreaking realization that you just lost everything you were working on because the computer failed. The blue screen of death is the real deal and is, unfortunately, something that many college students have a story about.

    Imagine this: it’s finals week and you’re putting the finishing touches on a huge paper — when suddenly, the computer crashes…

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    Having a backup plan is always important. Purchasing not one but two external drives for your newly attending freshman is a huge step in avoiding the looming computer-crashing story. Not only does it help them to keep their computer fairly clear of unnecessary data so that it runs smoother and quicker, but it allows them to save work often so nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

    I say two externals because, as any parent knows, there is a good chance that our efforts to help with tech issues could be overlooked and used for other things. One external for schoolwork and the other for music and entertainment. A work and play set of external drives helped to keep my recent graduate organized and generally on task.

    Basic Life Skills

    From a very young age, I had my daughter help me sort laundry and do household chores. I allowed her to do her own shopping and make dinner once a week at home while in high school so I was confident in her abilities to fend for herself, but one day I got a call asking me how to put gas in her car. She was dead serious and I didn’t know whether to laugh at the idea of her standing there confused trying to pump gas in her car or be upset with myself for failing to show her such a simple task. In the end, we both got a good laugh out of it, but it was a good reminder before she was off to college about the need to revisit even the little things before they are off on their own.

    Whether we think our young adults are ready or not, double checking whether they are capable of basic life skills may sound silly, but it is very necessary. Do they know how to do their own laundry without shrinking everything or turning it another color? Can they cook decent meals for themselves? Do they know how to put gas in their car? These are all very valid questions that a lot of us never think to ask because we are the ones that take care of these aspects of their lives.

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    Heart to Heart

    It seems as though there is always a headline about young college student fatalities from drunk driving and assaults on college campuses — sexual and otherwise. Overlooking the very real possibility that something could happen, in my opinion, is irresponsible. A conversation about drinking and driving is one your child probably won’t enjoy but will appreciate.

    Talking to my daughter about safety and smart choices before she went off to college lifted a weight off my shoulders and, whether she admits it or not, she walked away more aware of herself and her potential circumstances. Even in this day and age, reaffirming to young ladies that it is okay to say no and that her body is not a barter system is necessary. Dinner and a movie doesn’t equate to owing anyone anything. You’re not a tease or a prude, you’re a strong young woman (or young man). For every 1,000 women on a college campus 35 are raped every year. These are very real numbers, so educating our sons and daughters about the facts is prudent.

    Having this conversation before my daughter left for college helped me to reign the stress in. Knowing that she understood kept me from the checking in with her as much as I probably would have otherwise.

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      Financial Aid

      The biggest source of stress for a lot of people when starting out in college is working out the financial aid information. For a lot of first year college students, the paperwork is extremely daunting. Set aside time to go over this with your child, either from home or with someone in the financial aid department at the university. This will not only take added stress off your child but it will give you an opportunity to speak with someone who can explain in detail the different kinds of loans available and how that process works.

      These five things made the transition from home to college living much easier on all of us. I felt more confident in her ability to take care of herself, which made me less of the overbearing, concerned, badgering mother I know I can be. We’re parents, we worry. It’s what we do. Being present without being pushy is what is most important, so that we don’t push so hard that we push them away.

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      Last Updated on August 20, 2018

      60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life

      60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life

      Sometimes it’s easier to focus on what we don’t have, rather than what we do have. It’s important to take time out and remember all of the things to be thankful for that many of us take for granted.

        Here you’ll find 60 very solid things to be thankful for in your everyday life. These are great reminders for you to treasure everything you have.

        1. Good Health

        Even if you’re health isn’t great, it could be worse and you likely still have some working parts to be thankful for.

        2. Money in the Bank

        Having just a few coins makes you richer than most people on Earth.

        3. Good Friends

        Often, it’s the quality of friendships, not the quantity.

        4. Freedom of Religion

        Being able to worship whomever and however you want is something many people don’t ever experience.

        5. Your Parents

        Even if they’re dysfunctional, they gave you life.

        6. Weekends

        There’s something magical about weekends.

        7.Having a Partner

        Being in a romantic relationship can teach you so much about the world and yourself.

        8. Pets

        Pets offer one of the best examples of unconditional love.

        9. Learning from Mistakes

        If we never made mistakes, we wouldn’t learn much so it is one of those things we should be thankful for.

        10. Opportunity to Get an Education

        The opportunity to attend school is something many people don’t have.

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        11. Having a Home

        Whether you live in an apartment, a mansion, or a tent, having a place to call home is something to be thankful for.

        12. An Ability to Read

        If you’re reading this right now, you have a lot to be thankful for.

        13. Breathing Fresh Air

        Being able to step outside to breathe in fresh air is a good reminder how many little things we should be thankful for.

        14. A Bed to Sleep

        A bed is one of those things that’s easy to take for granted, until you don’t have one.

        15. Laughter

        Without laughter, the world would be a sad place.

        16. Safety and Security

        Being able to wake up without immense fear frees us up to really live life.

        17. Cars

        Without cars, it would take a lot longer to get our activities done.

        18. Sunshine

        The sun’s warmth can brighten any day.

        19. Time

        Although we often don’t think there’s enough of it, time is something we shouldn’t take for granted.

        20. Clean Water

        Many people on earth lack access to clean water.

        21. Cell Phones

        Cell phones make talking to loved ones easy.

        22. Love

        The world sure would be a different place if we lacked the ability to love.

        23. Books

        Books provide an opportunity to enter another world all from the comfort of your own home.

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        24. Kindness of Strangers

        Never take the kindness of a stranger for granted.

        25. Campfires

        The simplicity of a campfire creates lifelong memories.

        26. Pain

        Without pain, it would be difficulty to appreciate life’s joys.

        27. Art

        The world would be less beautiful if art didn’t exist.

        28. Holidays

        Any reason to celebrate is something we should be thankful for.

        29. Freedom of Speech

        Being able to express your thoughts and feelings freely should never be taken for granted.

        30. Rainbows

        The beauty of a rainbow is unmatched.

        31. Tears

        Sometimes when there are no words to say, tears express how we feel for us.

        32. Waking up Today

        Simply waking up today means you have things to be thankful for.

        33. Indoor Plumbing

        Indoor plumbing not only provides convenience, it spares us from disease.

        34. Wisdom that Comes with Age

        Thankfully, we grow smarter over time.

        35. Mountains

        Mountains provide us with beauty and recreation.

        36. Eyesight

        Being able to see allows us to view the world’s beauty.

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        37. Grocery Stores

        Grocery stores mean we don’t have to spend all of our time getting our own food.

        38. Sunsets

        Sunsets are a reminder that we should enjoy the simple things in life.

        39. Entertainment

        Entertainment gives us a way to relax and enjoy life.

        40. Your Mind

        Being able to think, remember, and solve problems sure makes life easier.

        41. Employment

        Even if you don’t like your job, being employed means someone thought you were special enough to hire.

        42. Diversity

        The world would be a boring place without diversity.

        43. Moon and Stars

        The moon and stars encourage us to dream.

        44. Electricity

        Electricity makes most of our chores efficient.

        45. Air Conditioning

        Staying cool on a hot day is something people wouldn’t have dreamed about in past centuries.

        46. Hearing

        Being able to hear your loved one’s voice is something that not everyone gets to do.

        47. Children

        Watching children laugh, grow, and dream can keep things in perspective.

        48. Ability to Learn

        The ability to learn new things means we have endless potential.

        49. People Willing to Teach

        Whether it’s your grandmother teaching you to knit or your plumber showing you how to prevent future problems, be grateful that others are willing to use their time and talents to teach you something new.

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        50. Oceans

        The sea creatures in the ocean almost seem too mystical to be real.

        51. Modern Medicine

        Without advances in modern medicine, many of us wouldn’t be alive.

        52. Music

        Music brings out new emotions.

        53. Entrepreneurs

        Some of life’s best inventions resulted from an entrepreneur who was willing to take a risk.

        54. Warm Clothing

        On a cold day, there’s nothing more important than warm clothing.

        55. Freedom to Vote

        Being able to have a say in the laws should never be taken for granted.

        56. An Internet Connection

        It’s hard to believe how easy it is to take the internet for granted, seeing how none of us had just a couple of decades ago.

        57. Challenges

        Without challenges in life, we wouldn’t be the people we are now.

        58. Hiking Trails

        Hiking trails give us the chance to enjoy mother’s nature beauty.

        59. Vaccines

        Many of us wouldn’t be alive without today’s vaccinations.

        60. Armed Forces

        Our lives would likely be very different if we didn’t have protection from the armed forces.

        Realizing all the things you should be thankful for is the first step, practicing gratitude is what you should start doing:

        6 Ways To Implement More Gratitude In Your Life

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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