If your child is heading off to college, especially if it’s your oldest, you know it’s a life-changing experience and can be nerve-wracking. You’ll have advice for your children, of course, but here are some words of wisdom for you as well as they head away from home.
Keep in Touch But Don’t Helicopter
You’ll absolutely want to keep in touch with your new college freshman, but make sure to not overdo it. Your child may be experiencing “freedom” for the first time and they won’t appreciate endless texts and phone calls. Understand that if they don’t answer a phone call right away, they may be eating, completing homework, or in the middle of a class.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t call when worried. It’s important to find balance. You’ll want to call occasionally to check up on them, talk about their day, fill them in on family news, or ask how their classes are going. Before they head off to college, try discussing how often you’ll call or contact while they’re away. This may help you find a common ground that works for both of you.
Don’t Expect High School Grades
There’s no doubt that college is much more difficult than high school, especially if they’re taking a more challenging course or major. While your child might have gotten straight A’s in their senior year, it’s very rare for a student to get a 4.0 GPA. If they have a B (or a 3.0) in a class, don’t be too hard on them.
Even if they have lower grades, they may be adjusting to college life. With time and effort, their grades may improve.
Design a Budget with Your Child
It’s likely that your child has never had to deal with finances or budgeting prior to this. If they have, they will probably have little experience. Take this time to go over their future budget. This may include money from their jobs, their savings, their meal plan, or an allowance you’re giving them every month.
You especially want to cover this topic if you or your child took out student loans to pay for college. They will need to know and understand their options for loans, interest, and repayment. The sooner they understand how the loan process works, the easier it will be to handle repayment when they graduate. If they have the money, your kid may want to consider paying the loans back while they’re still in school.
Your child heading to college is a life-changing experience for both of you. It’s important to be understanding on both ends. One of the best things you can do is to talk to your kid before they move into their dorm. You’ll want to cover their academics and classes, but their budget and how many phone calls are too many as well. After the conversation, you should both feel better about this exciting time!
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