The day I sent my son off to college was one of the happiest, saddest, scariest and proudest of my life. It was hard to believe that he was finally all grown up and ready to move out and embark on the next great chapter of his life as an independent young man. Like any parent, I worried obsessively about whether he would be able to look after himself on a practical level once out of the nest. As I reflect on that time, I want to share some thoughts on what you can do to prepare your graduate for the experience for this year’s batch of worried Moms.
As a Mom, you are no doubt worrying about whether your kid will be eating properly, and with good reason. With school and social life a priority, and fast food an alluring temptation, a healthy diet may fall by the wayside. Providing your young man or woman with kitchen items such as a great quality cookware set, and basic utensils could, therefore, be a wise investment. Having the right equipment will encourage them to rely less on junk and spend some time in the kitchen. I put together a gorgeous little notebook filled with quick, easy, nutritious recipes as additional encouragement and it worked a charm.
Have Wheels, Will Travel
Many college students rely heavily on cars to get around but have little idea about maintenance. Ensuring that they have jumper cables, a solid jack and spare tire and are paid up with the AAA will at least ensure that they can keep the vehicle running. It might be a good idea to them how to change a tire and jump start a battery if you haven’t already done so.
Tools of the Trade
Whether your child is living in a dorm or student housing, a well-stocked toolbox will always come in handy. Putting a bunch of 18-22-year-olds in close quarters with little supervision is a sure-fire guarantee that something is going to get broken. At the very least, having some decent tools around will allow them to make any minor repairs that are required and will save on handyman fees.
Bumps, scratches, bruises and perhaps the occasional self-inflicted “headache” are an inevitable part of life. Make sure your freshman is equipped with a well-stocked first aid kit so that they can look after themselves when life’s little mishaps hit. If you haven’t already done so, ensuring that they have completed at least a basic first-aid training course before they head off is an incredibly wise move. You may not only help your own child but ensure that they can help others in case of emergency.
If your kid is anything like mine, then housework is not exactly high on the list of core skills that he or she has acquired. Without Mom to run around after them to clean up their mess, many freshmen end up living in conditions that most of us would find somewhat terrifying. You’d be surprised how few people think to provide their undergrad with something as useful as a hand vacuum cleaner so they can at least create some semblance of tidiness. Cleaning supplies and equipment might be glamorous, but they will certainly come in useful.
Ultimately, our kids need to learn to look after themselves, and that is part of the beauty of the college experience. That doesn’t mean that we can’t set them up with these and other basics to give them a head start. The rest us up to them! Good luck!