The start of college is a huge moment in any young person’s life, and it’s equally momentous for parents. Preparing your kids for the big change can take up a lot of time, resources, and energy. Plus, the emotional toll of seeing them off to the next phase in their life can be an intense experience for any parent to deal with. You’ll want to prepare yourself for the big day by planning ahead, chatting with your kid about the challenges they might face, and making sure you know where to turn if any issues come up. These tips can help you feel ready for the big moment long before the first day of school arrives.
Finances and budgeting are some of the main struggles of a college experience. Covering everything from tuition and housing to books and meals can add up quickly. Having some conversations early on about what you and your child can afford in the long-term will help narrow down the college selection process and make the financial burden easier for everyone. Finances will inevitably change, and you will want to prepare for it.
You may want to take an in-depth look at your budget. Are there any cuts you can make? Are there expenses that go away soon after your child goes to college? For example, a 20-year term life insurance policy you took out when you started a family might be nearing its end.
What resources are available
The challenges involved in sending your kid off to college range from the physical to the emotional. At some point or another, your child may need some extra support. Researching available resources ahead of time can help ease some of the burden down the road. Before college starts, you may want to take some time to locate resources that both you and your child can take advantage of. That can include on-campus or off-campus health and wellness resources and financial aid options.
Preparing for an empty nest
Many parents struggle with a suddenly quiet, empty house once their kids are off to college. Mentally preparing yourself for an empty nest well before your kids are gone can reduce some of the shock and ease the adjustment period. Many parents use the empty nest period to renovate their homes, travel, or take on other projects that can be difficult to do when kids still live at home.
It’s natural to want to talk to your kids all the time as soon as they go away to college—but it can be wise to give them some space first so they can learn independence and adapt to their new environment. Take a step back and let them know that they can reach out whenever they need you.