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5 Things to Teach Your Teen Before College

While it may seem common knowledge that your teen should know basic life skills before leaving for college, time can easily slip away. You might enjoy doing things for your child until they venture out on their own. However, you must equip your teen with skills they’ll need once they arrive at college. Let’s explore some skills your teen should know before they leave home.

Time Management

Time management is a crucial life skill that teens should learn before graduation. Teach your teen how to make the most of their time in a day. Since school schedules and extracurricular activities are planned out, many teens don’t learn how necessary time management is until it’s too late. Don’t remind your child to do their homework or their chores. Equip them with the skills to take the initiative, get them done or deal with the consequences.

Procrastination isn’t as tolerated in college and can adversely impact your teen’s success and relationships. Help your teen maximize their time by teaching them the benefits of creating a schedule, setting goals and prioritizing activities. You aren’t doing your child any favors by encouraging them to procrastinate or letting them slide when they do. Routines and time management tools like a planner can help your teen learn how to manage their time efficiently and prepare for independent living.

Household Skills

Every teen should know basic household skills by the time they leave for college. Give your child opportunities to learn and model independence while still in your home. This way, you can nurture their independence and catch them when they fall short. Ensure your child has chores and knows how to do them properly.

Teach them the basics and make them redo them when they aren’t up to par–don’t do them for them or they’ll never learn. Teach your teen how to do laundry, sort their clothes, clean the bathroom, mop floors and do other basic housekeeping. You don’t want your child living in filth or disrespecting their roommate in a shared dorm. Teach them to respect others’ privacy and clean up after themselves so they won’t have issues with their dormmates.

Effective Communication

Your teen should know how to communicate effectively and regulate emotions to prepare for college life. Communication is essential to interpersonal relationships, personally and professionally. Teach them the proper etiquette regarding communication like how to write a formal letter and when it’s necessary to communicate face-to-face. Effective communication is a vital resource for all students, regardless of age.

Ensure your teen knows how to set boundaries and say no. Especially if you’re raising a people pleaser, your teen should know their limit and how to protect their mental health. Teach them the importance of self-care and determining who their real friends are. Your teen should know how to healthily regulate their emotions and who to turn to when they need guidance by the time they leave home.

How To Budget

Budgeting is arguably one of the most critical concepts to teach your teenager. Maxed-out credit cards are common in college. Help your teen learn how to budget and limit spending so they can avoid calling you for help in college. Teach them to list everything they need money for, the income they receive and track their spending. Teach them how to save, invest and donate money to contribute to society when they can.

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A summer or part-time job can prepare your child for independent living and teach them how to budget early. You can give them responsibilities they are in charge of like paying their vehicle’s insurance or providing their own toiletries while they are still living at home. Learning how to keep track of expenses while you’re young can make the transition into college much easier. You don’t want to see your teen buried in debt, so help them learn how to create a budget and stick with it.

Personal Safety

Personal safety is vital to any teenager’s arsenal of knowledge. Ensure that your teens know how to handle emergencies, how to defend themselves and use common sense. Every teen should know to avoid secluded areas away from the public when alone. The world is scary and learning how to defend yourself is an essential asset everyone should possess.

Teens should also know how to deal with basic car trouble like getting a flat tire and who to call for help. Teach them how to use the buddy system–someone should always know where they are or where they are going. Teach your teen to always be aware of their surroundings. Your teen should avoid walking alone on campus with earbuds in or texting. Help them understand that they’re more vulnerable to predators or accidents when they aren’t paying attention.

Teaching Your Teen Independence

Your teen will always need you no matter how prepared they are for adulthood. Ensure they can manage life independently by teaching them as much as possible before they embark on their college adventure.