How to prepare yourself for a child leaving home

Sending your child off to university can be hard. You want them to stay safe, enjoy themselves and have new experiences. But saying goodbye can be an incredibly emotional step for both a parent and son or daughter.

In this post we’ll take a look at what you can do to make the transition a little easier for both you and your teenager.

Give them the skills they need

Make sure your teen has all the practical skills they need to be able to live independently at university. This includes knowing how to clean up after themselves, being able to wash and dry their clothes and being able to cook at least a few staple meals.

Having these key domestic skills will undoubtedly help them bed into the university environment more easily and give them an important sense o confidence. It will also give you peace of mind to know that they can fend for themselves. All too often, the source of a parent’s worry for their child stems from a fear that they “won’t be eating properly” or “will struggle to stand on their own two feet”.

Keep your distance

It might be hard, but try not to bombard your child with calls, texts and visits when they first leave for university. Let them know that they always have the option to come home or get in touch, but also encourage them to spend time with their new friends, enjoy weekends at university and take part in university activities. If they get too used to coming home every weekend, they’ll never really learn how to live independently.

Give them a taste of what’s to come

It’s natural for teenagers to feel worried about moving away from home and starting university. In fact, the more worried they are the more worried you’re likely to be about how they’ll cope. A summer school is a fantastic way of giving them a head start for the university experience. Two-week programmes like Cambridge Immerse allow teens to get stuck into university life in a number of ways, including: studying a university subject, enjoying university-style activities and staying in the colleges of Cambridge University.

Help them stay safe

Above all else, you want your child to be safe at university. Put some time aside before they go to sit down and go through some safety tips, including how to behave on a night out. This will give you peace of mind that they know how to look after themselves without you there.

Budget effectively

Practically speaking, you’ll need to do some financial adjustments to prepare for your child leaving home. On the plus side, you’ll have less household expenses to worry about, but you’ll also need to factor in university fees and any monetary support you want to provide them with while they’re away. Try to encourage your son or daughter to do some budgeting too while they’re at university. They could even get a part time job to fill up a weekend afternoon, earn some extra pocket money and make some new friends.

Take up a new activity

Your child is out there having some fantastic new experiences, so why shouldn’t you do the same? Taking up a new class, hobby or club is a great way to stop yourself from missing your teen too much and worrying about them all the time. Pick a hobby or skill which you have always wanted to master and invest some time and effort. Now that you have a little more time to yourself, it’s the perfect opportunity to be a bit more selfish in how you choose to use it.

Above all, encourage your child to enjoy themselves and work hard. University is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so even if you find it hard that they are not at home, the important thing is that they don’t find it too hard to be away.

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