If you have a loved one heading to university this year, perhaps a child or grandchild, you may find yourself worrying that you haven’t properly prepared them for their first big steps into adult life.
You may have taken care of many of their day-to-day needs throughout their childhood and teenage years. They may have relied on you to fund their expenses, clean up after them, and look after their healthcare needs.
Now, as an adult, these responsibilities are falling on their shoulders. It might lead to unwanted distractions as your child or grandchild tries to work out how to tackle managing a household or paying bills.
So, taking the time to prepare them for their university adventure with some helpful life lessons could help reduce some of the pressure they might end up feeling and leave them better able to excel in their studies.
Here are five simple lessons you might want to teach them in the run up to their first year to help them face the challenges of adult life with confidence.
Lesson 1 – How to look after a household
One of the initial problems many teens face when they leave home for the first time is tackling all the day-to-day chores that their parents may have done for them.
Finally on their own for the first time, and with plenty to do both on their courses and with their social lives, it can be easy to let the housework pile up.
So, taking the time to teach your children or grandchildren important household skills, in the time leading up to their first year at university, could leave them better prepared to take care of their newfound homes.
This might include teaching them how to:
- Do their laundry
- Vacuum and mop
- Clean surfaces in their bathroom and kitchen
- Unblock drains
- Clean dishes, stove tops, and ovens.
Having a nice, clean home to live in could help boost their emotional wellbeing and might even assist them in resolving household squabbles before they arise.
Lesson 2 – How to manage a budget
Financial worries can be a big distraction, and an unwelcome one when you’d probably prefer your loved ones to be focused on their studies.
So, helping your child or grandchild learn how to properly manage their finances and carefully budget for their university outgoings could help relieve a lot of stress.
This could involve advising them on how to deal with their main income streams, such as managing their:
- Tuition fees loan
- Maintenance loan
- Additional income from grants or scholarships.
It might also teach them how to work out a budget that covers all their income and outgoings, taking into account their:
- Utility bills
- Additional course expenses
- Luxuries, such as nights out, weekend travel, or personal purchases.
The relief provided by knowing exactly how much they have coming in and going out, and being able to balance their budget so they’re never caught short, could allow them to better focus on their studies.
Lesson 3 – How to cook and meal plan
It is likely that your child or grandchild has spent the majority of their life relying on others to cook for them and make sure they stay fed.
To suddenly be responsible for feeding themselves three times a day may come as a shock. It might lead to unhealthy habits, such as reliance on fast food, microwave meals, or a “Pot Noodle” diet.
So, taking the time to get your loved one in the kitchen with you before they depart for university could not only provide them with a useful life skill, but might also help them stay healthier.
You could opt to teach them some cooking basics, a few easy and healthy recipes, and how to work out a weekly meal plan that falls within their student budget.
Lesson 4 – How to look after their health
University can be a stressful time both mentally and physically. It is important that your loved ones remember to take care of their health.
This could involve the basics of making sure they find time to exercise and maintain a healthy diet, but also knowing who to contact and when to reach out if they are faced with more serious health problems.
You might want to advise your child or grandchild to:
- Sign up with their local GP and book appointments if they feel unwell
- Access their university’s clinic if they’re in need of a health check
- Book routine dental appointments
- Carry important information that emergency services might require, especially if they have a health condition or allergy.
Additionally, if your loved one is feeling a strain on their mental health, teaching them ahead of time to be confident reaching out for help and where to seek support could be crucial.
Lesson 5 – How to get a job
Some young adults might already have worked their first jobs before they head to university, but many have not.
There are a lot of challenges adapting to a workplace can present, even when it’s a part-time job to support their studies.
Your child or grandchild might benefit from being taught how to:
- Write a CV that highlights their relevant skills and experience
- Craft an eye-catching cover letter
- Interview for a role with confidence
- Keep a balance between their work life and university studies
- Deal with any financial or legal issues arising from being employed.
The lessons they learn in their first jobs, even if they are minimum wage positions, could help them feel more confident entering the wider workplace once they finish university.
Get in touch
University life is an opportunity for your child or grandchild to create new memories.
You should encourage them to seize opportunities, whether it’s joining societies, making new friends, or applying for internships.
The life lessons you provide them with could go a long way to reducing the stress and workload on their shoulders, and leave them better placed to enjoy their newfound freedom.
If you want to discuss ways you can start preparing for your loved ones’ future, such as saving or investing in their name, or working towards helping them with university expenses, please reach out to us by email at email@example.com or by calling 0117 9303510.
This article is no substitute for financial advice and should not be treated as such. To determine the best course of action for your individual circumstances, please contact us.