College can be an exciting point in our life — remember the thrill of having a bit of freedom on choosing the classes and schedules to take, the rush that comes with our newfound independence, and even the pressure that comes with everything? Well, imagine your child going through that and how you, as a parent will feel. Definitely not as thrilled.
To ensure that your child is fully prepared — and to alleviate your fears about him leaving home, here are a few tips on how you can better prepare him for his college journey.
Help him get organized.
Unlike high school where schedules and classes are pretty much fixed and everything else is spoonfed, college is not as clear cut. Attendance might not matter as much but performance definitely does. Unfortunately, the new independence college affords could be deceitful at best — it could give the impression that teens have all the time in the world to do anything they want, so most can end up with much more on their plates than they could handle. In college students, this could then lead to stress, low performance, and even burn out.
Help your teen schedule his time effectively by teaching and providing him with tools that can help — such as recommending smartphone apps or even gifting him with a planner/organizer if he wishes for one. Also emphasize the importance of allotting time for everything — study, house chores, errands, going out, and even rest or sleep. You can also suggest to your child that he should pick classes and schedules that work best with his known strengths and habits. For example, if he’s not much of a morning person, then encourage him to favor classes that start late in the morning or even in the afternoon.
Teach him the basics.
Basics of household chores that is, especially if he’s going to live in a dorm or somewhere near his new school. Living away from home has its perks, but your child should know that it comes with its own set of responsibilities as well — and most that he should definitely make time for. If he won’t be going home every week, then make sure that he can handle his laundry. Give him a crash course on the importance of separating whites and colored clothing, hand washing, folding, and even stain removal. Simple fixes for holes and lost buttons will also come in handy.
At the same time, a crash course on maintaining the cleanliness of his room or new dorm is a must. Maintaining good hygiene on both himself and his surroundings will go a long way in keeping him healthy and focused on school. You can start off by ensuring that he knows how to tidy up his bed, clean up in the kitchen, and keep his bathroom generally clean.
Minimize food problems.
College independence in teens can also lead to unhealthy eating habits. Let’s admit it. When we were in college, we also rejoiced over the fact that we can eat chips for breakfast and Jollibee every day. But let’s also admit that we were not at our healthiest back then — some succumbed to the so-called “freshman fifteen” and gained a few (or even a number of) pounds, and we soon realized that our unhealthy eating habits also affected our mood, focus, and energy levels.
You can help your child overcome this by reinforcing healthy eating habits and highlighting the importance of a balanced diet and exercise. Ensuring that he knows his way around the kitchen so he can cook meals for himself can be a plus too.
Handle money matters easily.
Aside from getting free rein over class schedules, living arrangements, and food, your incoming college student will also need to manage his own money. It can be quite hard for a newbie college student to not live like a millionaire for a day in a college setting where lakwatsas and gimiks are all over the place. So it’s best to ensure that your child knows the basics of budgeting.
One simple and easy way for anyone to budget is to create a list of categories or expenses. You can discuss this with your child and go over every expense he’s likely to have, such as “Food,” “Housing and Utilities,” “Transportation,” and even “Savings,” then allot an amount to each. Remind your child which are considered necessities and the importance of tracking his expenses regularly.
At the same time, it’s also important to establish how much his allowance is and how he can access it. Since most of your college student’s funds will most likely come from you, then one of the best and easiest ways to send it is through a bank account. You should look for a bank that offers products that allow safe and convenient funds transfer between account holders, such as EastWest Family Ties.
EastWest Family Ties make it easier for household heads such as yourself to safely send and distribute funds to loved ones anywhere, such as your college freshman. It’s a peso checking account with a bundle of up to 5 cash cards — which you can assign to your kids. You, as the account owner, can instantly transfer funds or allowances to your kids’ cash cards with just a few clicks from your online account. Your kids can then easily withdraw his allowance using their cash cards from any ATM or even use it as debit cards for cashless transactions. This means no more going to the bank and enduring long lines just to deposit and send money or texts from your kids asking for their allowance in the most inconvenient times. This way, you’re assured that you can easily get funds to your child anytime, anywhere, whenever he needs it.
*Published with EastWest Bank.