School just got out for the summer - Time to think about College

Some kids still have a few more days before they are out for summer break.  Other kids have been out for weeks.  It hardly seems like it is time to start thinking about college.  Most kids (and Moms) are just looking forward to sleeping in for a while.  But if you have a teen in the house it is not too early to start thinking about college. I know my teen is checking out colleges and what she'll need to do to get into the college of her dreams.

Contributing blogger Nicole Mayer thinks this summer is a great time to start the conversation about getting ready for college.

Sending Your Kid Off to College: Advise Them Now
by Nicole Mayer

For the first time, your child will forgo the pleasure of home-cooked meals, mom maid service and automatic family support in exchange for community bathrooms, grueling all-night cram sessions and (perhaps) the occasional keg party when off to college.

You might ask yourself, "Have I taught my child everything they'll need to know and how can I protect them from the dangers of the real world?" Truth is, the answer is probably "No." College is also a learning experience for you as a parent. Keep these thoughts in mind as your child prepares to enter adulthood:

Your Young Adult Is Still a Kid (Sort Of)

While your child is starting to do a lot of adult-like things, the truth is that in many ways he or she is still a kid, with much to learn. No matter how great of a job you have done as a parent, your child is going to make some mistakes from time to time. However, it's really the only way to truly learn. Better that your adult-in-training learn these lessons in their college years than further down the road, when they should know better.

Your Child Still Needs Parents

Don't be surprised if your child calls you to vent or asks for advice throughout college, but especially in the first few semesters. In fact, you should encourage this. If it happens, don't be alarmed; instead, feel grateful that you have this sort of bond and rapport with your child.

Let Them Learn for Themselves

Sending your child off to college is about finding that ideal balance between asserting your authority and "two cents" when warranted, but also untying the apron strings and letting them venture out on their own. Try and find an approach that is a blend of the two.

Encourage Healthy Eating

There's a reason for the "freshman fifteen." College students are making their own food choices for the first time as well as dealing with stress as they adjust to their new circumstances. Remind your kids not to go for the pizza or pasta every time. The cliché of telling your kid to "eat their vegetables" definitely still rings true. WebMD offers similar advice and guidance to avoid weight gain upon entering college.

Identity Protection

Being out on her own for the first time, studying and making new friends can sometimes cause teenagers to become oblivious to the world around them. Bank of America points out one of the most common ways identity thieves steal information is by prying on unsuspecting teens at ATM machines, grocery store checkout counters and through unsecured Internet connections, like at coffee shops and other campus Wi-Fi hotspot locations.

It's not hard to look over a shoulder, steal a credit card number and see a pin number. Life Lock Identity Theft Management can protect your teenager from prying eyes and robberies, giving both you and your child added peace of mind as they navigate this next phase of life. Educate them on ways to be private in their transactions.

Discuss Drugs and Alcohol

As for alcohol, encourage moderation. Too much alcohol can affect grade-point averages, health and peace of mind. While it's unrealistic to forbid your child to experiment, remind them to be smart and keep the larger picture in mind.

Drugs may be a tougher conversation. Stay as real as possible without being too preachy. Remind them that feeling better can be achieved through natural means like going for a walk, doing yoga, meditation, listening to music or talking with a friend.

Preparing your teenager for college takes time, energy and thoughtful planning. Make sure your young adult is prepared and ready to take this big step when the time comes.


Nicole Mayer
Nicole is fluent in three languages: English, German and Spanish. She's a language tutor, translator and blogger from Virginia.


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